Express News Service
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has quashed a G.O. issued to remove the chairperson and members of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, saying that the State government has not followed statutory procedures while removing them.
“The impugned G.O. is illegal and has to be struck down. No charges have been levelled against the respective petitioners in the G.O. and that has also been taken note of by this court,” Justice Abdul Quddhose said in a recent order.
Chairperson of the commission Saraswathi and members Saranya T Jaikumar, K Durai Raj and Muralikumar were removed from their posts vide the GO Ms12 of Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department dated February 23, 2022.
They moved the court contending that they were removed without following procedures stipulated under Section 7 of the Child Rights Act, and they were not given the opportunity to be heard. Counsel for the petitioners said Section 16 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, which the State relied upon, does not get attracted in view of the fact that there is a specific statutory procedure provided under the Child Rights Act for removal of members and chairperson.
Though the posts held by the petitioners are honorary in nature, the respondents shall necessarily follow the statutory procedure prescribed under the Child Rights Act, counsel said.Representing the government, Additional Advocate General S Silambanan said the respondent has inherent powers under section 16 of the General Clauses Act to suspend or dismiss any member.
Justice Abdul Quddhose said section 7 of Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, mentions only seven circumstances under which a member or chairperson shall be removed. However, in the case on hand, the only power available to the respondent to remove any member or chairperson is under section 7 of the Child Rights Act and not otherwise, he said.
The chairperson, Saraswathi, an AIADMK functionary, and six members were appointed to the commission in January 2021 by then AIADMK government. But the DMK removed them from their posts in February, 2022 without citing any allegations.
Govt order illegal, no charges made: judge
“The impugned G.O. is illegal and has to be struck down. No charges have been levelled against the respective petitioners in the G.O. and that has also been taken note of by this court,’’ Justice Abdul Quddhose said.