TN Governor Ravi refuses to appoint 'tainted' MLA K Ponmudy as minister

Ponmudy was reinstated as MLA after SC stayed his conviction on March 13

PTI07_17_2023_000340A Enforcement Directorate officials take Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy for enquiry | PTI

Setting the stage for another confrontation with the ruling DMK government, Tamil Nadu Governor N Ravi on Sunday refused to accept the recommendation of Chief Minister M K Stalin to appoint K Ponmudy as a minister.

A former Higher Education minister, Ponmudy quit after being convicted in a disproportionate asset case in December 2023. He was later disqualified by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Secretariat and his seat, Tirukkoyilur Assembly constituency, declared vacant. However, he was reinstated as an MLA last week after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction and three-year jail sentence.  

Following the move, state legislative assembly speaker M Appavu reinstated Ponmudy as an MLA. 

Chief Minister Stalin then wrote a letter to Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi asking for DMK senior leader Ponmudy's oath-taking as a minister.

However, Governor RN Ravi sent a letter to the state government on Sunday, stating that he cannot administer the oath of office to Ponmudy as his conviction has not been struck down by the Supreme Court, citing the pendency of the case. The Governor said that since Ponmudy remained "tainted of corruption, re-induction as minister would be against constitutional morality".

"It is pertinent to note that SC, in the light of Sec 8(3) of Representation of the People Act 1951, in the said order has suspended the conviction by way of interim relief to Dr K Ponmudy. It means the conviction of Ponmudy though existent has been made non-operative. It has not been set aside."

"The offences for which he has been held guilty are very serious relating to corruption he committed as a public servant. As he remains tainted by corruption, re-induction as minister would be against constitutional morality. Hence unable to accede to your request," the governor wrote.

Earlier, there were reports that though the DMK had insisted on holding the swearing-in on March 14, Ravi left for Delhi on the said date. The Raj Bhavan had refused to comment on the speculations. 


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