Judge receives threat over split verdict in MLAs case

Security beefed up at residence of Justice M. Sundar

Justice M. Sundar of the Madras High Court, who delivered a split verdict in the 18 AIADMK MLAs’ disqualification case, has received an anonymous letter threatening to do away with his family.

On coming to know of it, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee immediately spoke to A.K. Viswanathan, Commissioner of Police, Chennai, and made sure that the puisne judge and his family were provided with additional guards round the clock.

According to sources, the issue had been dealt with with all seriousness, especially because the judge had been deputed to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court since April 1. His wife and daughter live in the official bungalow allotted to him at Greenways Road here.

He had, in fact, flown down to Chennai for a day to deliver the verdict in the disqualification case on June 14. The judgment sent ripples across the State, since he differed with the Chief Justice and penned a dissenting judgment, setting aside the disqualification.

Justice Sundar had held that the Speaker’s September 18 order disqualifying the 18 MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran was liable to be struck down on the grounds of perversity, mala fide and non-compliance with the principles of natural justice.

However, in her main judgment, the Chief Justice had ruled that in her view, the disqualification under the anti-defection law was in no way unreasonable, perverse or irrational. She said the Speaker’s viewpoint “was a possible, if not plausible, view.”

In view of the divergent views taken by the two judges forming part of a Division Bench, the matter was referred to a third judge.

On June 27, the Supreme Court appointed Justice M. Sathyanarayanan to break the conundrum, and he recently decided to begin hearing from July 23.

Meanwhile, Justice Sundar received the anonymous letter threatening him of dire consequences for having delivered the verdict against the party in power. It specifically stated that the handful of policemen posted at his residence would not be able to safeguard his family members.

Taking serious note of the letter, security has been beefed up for the judge by deploying additional policemen at his residence.

A barricade has also been put up on the road leading to his bungalow in Chennai and a policeman has been deployed over there to keep a check on visitors.

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