Madras High Court seeks govt.’s response to plea on laying down criteria for all party meetings 


A view of the Madras High Court Building in Chennai. File.

A view of the Madras High Court Building in Chennai. File.
| Photo Credit: K. PICHUMANI

The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice to the State government on a writ appeal preferred by Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi (DMSK) seeking a direction to lay down the criteria to be followed by the government while extending invitation for all-party meetings to discuss important issues.

Justices R. Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq directed a Special Government Pleader to take notice on behalf of the Chief Secretary. The appeal had been preferred against the dismissal of the litigant party’s writ petition by a single judge on July 19, 2019, on the ground that a similar case was dismissed in 2010.

In the 2010 verdict, it had been held that extending an invitation for an all-party meeting was a discretion vested upon the government and, therefore, no party could insist on getting invited as a matter of right. Since such meetings were informal in nature, no judicial orders could be passed on such issues, the court had said.

‘No discrimination’

However, advocate K. Sakthivel, representing the present appellant, contended that the government’s discretion should not lead to discrimination.

He said the government must follow some fair criteria with respect to the invitation to be extended to the political parties, without enjoying absolute discretion. The government could insist that only parties that are recognised or registered with the Election Commission of India would be invited for such meets or that only parties that contest in elections without confining their activities to letter pads would be invited, he said, adding: “Some criteria should be laid down.”

In his affidavit, DMSK president M.L. Ravi said there had been all-party meetings for which invitations had been extended to individuals who were not connected to any political party, but registered political parties were not invited.


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