Chennai: DMK working president and Leader of opposition M K Stalin has informed the Madras high court that the assembly secretary has acted in a mala fide manner by submitting a selectively edited video recording of the assembly proceedings that took place on February 18, before this court. Stalin stated this in his rejoinder filed to the counter affidavit filed by Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly secretary AMP Jamaludeen.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice RMT Teeka Raman posted to April 10 further hearing of a batch of petitions, including the one from Stalin, which sought to declare as illegal the decision taken by the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker on the floor of the assembly on February 19 on the confidence motion moved by chief minister Edappadi K. Palanisami.
Denying the allegations, including the allegations that there was a brutal attempt to assault the Speaker and vandalism orchestrated by the DMK members inside the assembly, Stalin said the Assembly Secretary has placed before this court in a biased and untruthful manner what took place within the assembly after the adjournment of proceedings as if they were part of the assembly proceedings.
Referring to the contention of the Assembly Secretary that there was no provision in the rules for conducting the voting by secret ballot, Stalin said there was no prohibition under the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules on holding a floor test or a vote of confidence through a secret ballot. Pointing out the averments in the counter affidavit that none of the members of the AIADMK who voted for the motion has complained that they were illegally confined, Stalin said this makes it abundantly clear that there were some members of the AIADMK who did not vote for the motion and also complained about illegal confinement. This alone constitutes an admission by the Secretary that there were MLAs who were illegally confined and had complained about the same in the lead-up to February 18. Yet, there was no action taken and the rightful requests for a secret ballot or an adjournment of proceedings were denied only in order to illegally assist Edappadi Palanisami in the confidence motion, he added.
He said this court had directed the production of the video-graph recorded from the commencement of confidence motion till the end. However, a simple glance through the video compact disc submitted by the secretary discloses that five different video cameras have been used to make the video-graph recording submitted before this court. It was evident that a number of segments have been edited out of the videographer recording submitted to this court.
The videograph has also been muted i.e. audio has been edited at certain segments. This action by the assembly secretary goes against the letter and the spirit of the order of this court and was a blatant attempt to mislead the court, he added. He also sought to restrain the government headed by Edappadi Palanisami from taking any policy decisions.