The Madras High Court has decided to examine the correctness of all judgments in MP/MLA cases passed so far by the special courts in Tamil Nadu, by observing that citizens must never get the impression of courts are the playing fields for the rich and the powerful.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh severely criticised the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption sleuths for acting like "puppets in The Muppet Show" depending on the political party in power.
The court decided to examine all special court verdicts as complaints of corruption cases against legislators have been withdrawn or watered down during every regime change.
Taking up a suo motu revision against the 2012 withdrawal of prosecution against former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his family in a disproportionate assets case, the court issued notice to the accused and sought personal appearance in the matter.
The court found that Panneerselvam's case had led to the devising of a modus operandi, which was subsequently followed by incumbent Revenue Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran and Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu to get discharged from the disproportionate assets cases against them.
"As the judge in charge of MP/MLA cases in this State, this court has a constitutional duty to ensure that the streams of crimi- nal justice are kept pure and unsullied," the court said.
The bench said the records in the case against Panneerselvam prima facie revealed a tale of how the criminal justice system was "subverted by the collective effort" of all stakeholders.
The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption had registered the case in 2006, when the DMK came to power after five years of AIADMK rule, and filed a chargesheet before the Theni Chief Judicial Magistrate on July 30, 2009.
On June 9, 2009, the then Speaker, R. Avudaiappan, granted sanction for prosecution. The Special Court took cognisance of the chargesheet and summoned the accused.
On May 3, 2011, a fortnight before the AIADMK returned to power, a government order was issued, constituting a special court in Madurai for cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court said ordering further investigation on the basis of a petition taken out by the accused was unknown to law.
It found "shocking and disturbing" pattern regarding discharge of the accused in corruption cases.
"I have seen in this case as well as the other cases. Whatever be their radical political differences, the accused political personages across party lines appear to be united in their endeavour to thwart and subvert the criminal justice system in this State," the judge said.