Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday dispensed with the personal appearance of DMK President and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi before the Justice (Retd) R Regupathi Commission, appointed by the government to probe irregularities in the construction of new secretariat complex at Omandurar Estate here.
Justice V Ramasubramanian, while passing interim orders on a writ petition filed by the DMK chief, said, "The immediate question of Karunanidhi appearing before the Commission does not arise." He adjourned the case for two weeks.
T Muthukumaraswamy, senior counsel for the DMK chief submitted that a questionnaire is permitted to be received by and filled by him.
The judge then directed Secretary of the Commission and state Chief Secretary to file their counters.
Justice (Retd) Regupathy was appointed as the one-man commission of inquiry by the government on December 2, 2011 to probe the alleged irregularities in the construction of the complex causing "loss" to the exchequer when Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister.
The commission had earlier issued summons to Karunanidhi for his personal appearance before it on Septmeber 18 to answer the questionnaire.
Challenging it, Karunanidhi filed a petition in the High Court seeking to quash the order of constituting the Commission of Inquiry.
He contended that when inquiry commission allowed him to represent himself through a legal practitioner, it cannot compel his personal appearance.
He said there was no reason for the Commission to compel his personal appearance before it and there is no power under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952 to direct a person under section 8B to appear in person when law permits representation through a lawyer under section 8C.
He sought to quash the summons as well as the Government order appointing Justice Regupathy as the one-man Commission of Inquiry.