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Legality Of A Person In Judicial Custody Serving As A Minister UPSC NOTE


  • The Madras High Court made the following points in its observation regarding the continuation of V. Senthilbalaji in the Cabinet while he was in judicial custody:

  • Constitutional Travesty: The court considered a Minister without portfolio while in judicial custody to be a "constitutional travesty."

  • Principles of Constitutional Ethos: It expressed concern that Senthilbalaji's continuation in the Cabinet did not align with the principles of constitutional ethos, goodness, good governance, and purity in administration.

  • Chief Minister's Responsibility: The Chief Justice and another Justice expected Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to make a decision regarding the arrested Minister's continuation in the Cabinet based on concerns related to constitutional and public morality.

  • No Legal Bar: The court acknowledged that there was no legal bar under the Constitution or any statute preventing a person in judicial custody from continuing as a Minister.

  • Corrosion of Values: The court noted that the situation raised concerns about the erosion of good governance values and clean governance. It questioned the idea of retaining a person as a Minister without portfolio while in custody.

  • Rewarding Unfit Individuals: The court highlighted that the founding fathers of the Constitution likely did not anticipate a scenario where the Executive Head would reward an elected Member with Ministerial status despite them being deemed unfit to discharge Ministerial responsibilities.

  • Writ Petitions: The court's observations were made while disposing of three writ petitions filed by individuals against Senthilbalaji's continuation in the Cabinet after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on June 14, 2023.

  • Ineffectiveness of a Minister in Custody: The judges agreed with the argument that a person in judicial custody would not be able to effectively perform the duties of a Minister. 

  • They described such a Minister as one in name only, without any actual responsibilities.

  • Executive Head's Responsibility: The Chief Justice emphasized that it was the responsibility of the Chief Minister as the executive head to assign ministerial responsibilities to elected representatives. 

  • However, if a representative was considered unfit for such responsibilities, there should be no moral or constitutional basis to retain them as a Minister without portfolio.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Legality Of A Person In Judicial Custody Serving As A Minister UPSC NOTE
Legality Of A Person In Judicial Custody Serving As A Minister UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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