Tamil Diplomat

Are Chief Ministers ‘public servants?’

In a case that may impact the outcome of the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court will, on October 24, hear on merits a pending petition on whether Chief Ministers or Ministers of government can actually be treated as ‘public servants’ on a par with government functionaries performing public duties.

The petition, filed by advocate R. Rajavel, has been listed for hearing on October 24 and is likely to come up before a Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy. This is the Bench that heard and reserved for judgment a batch of appeals against the acquittal of Ms. Jayalalithaa and her three co-accused by the Karnataka High Court in the wealth case.

The Supreme Court admitted Mr. Rajavel’s petition in November 2015 and issued notice to the opposite parties, including the Centre, the State of Karnataka, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader K. Anbazhagan, and Ms. Jayalalithaa.The court, on November 23 last year, tagged this petition with the disproportionate assets case.The petition primarily asked whether it was repugnant to treat Chief Ministers and Ministers on a par with other public servants on government roll, especially when no statute passed by the legislature had ever specifically defined them as such.

 Mr. Rajavel contended that his plea was triggered by the prolonged litigation in the Jayalalithaa wealth case. It contended that written law or statutes enacted by Parliament did not include political persons in the category of public servants(THE HINDU,2016).