Madras HC adjourns hearing on Senthil Balaji’s plea to June 27


Chennai, June 22 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on the habeas corpus plea filed by Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balajia’s wife Megala against the minister’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to June 27.

A division bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justices Nisha Banu and Bharatha Chakravarthy heard the plea on Thursday. Senthil Balaji’s counsel N.R. Elango argued that the habeas corpus plea is suitable for hearing as fundamental right has been infringed upon.

The senior counsel questioned the authority of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to insist upon custodial interrogation of Balaji.

The counsel said that sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) does not confer the powers of an SHO or officer in-charge of a police station on any of the officers of the ED, and hence they cannot seek custodial interrogation of an arrested person.

He also took exception to the act of the ED in approaching the Principal Sessions Judge (PSJ) in Chennai after the division bench of the Madras High Court had on June 15 ordered the shifting of the minister from a government hospital to a private hospital for a bypass surgery.

Elango said: “This is the greatest illegality ever committed by the ED. They should not have approached the PSJ after the high court’s order and the PSJ should not have permitted custodial interrogation in the hospital itself.”

“Had the minister been arrested legally, the need for a habeas corpus plea would not have arised. Senthil Balaji should have been informed bout the reasons for his arrest, which is a fundamental right,” Elango argued.

He also said that no one should be detained without explaining the reasons for his arrest, adding that this is clearly mentioned in Article 22 of the Constitution.

He added that the court’s order of transferring Balaji to the Kauvery Hospital under judicial custody cannot be considered as an interim order, but an order under Section 167 of the CrPC.

Solicitor General of India Thushar Mehta appeared for the ED.

The court adjourned the hearing to June 27 after Mehta expressed some difficulties in appearing before the court in the afternoon and sought an adjournment to make his submissions.


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