A day after DMK threatened to intensify its protests against Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s district visits, the Raj Bhavan Sunday said he ‘enjoys unhindered freedom’ to interact with officials and said such visits would continue in future.
Referring to the ‘siege Raj Bhavan’ stir held by DMK in Chennai on Saturday, the Governor’s office in a release cited a legal provision providing for seven years imprisonment to those ‘inducing or compelling’ the Governor of any state to ‘exercise or refrain from exercising’ in any manner any of the lawful powers.
The DMK led by its working president M K Stalin, had staged a protest in Chennai on Saturday demanding Purohit’s resignation and said the party would intensify the stir if he continued to hold review meetings in districts.
“In the capacity of Governor being head of the executive, he enjoys unhindered freedom to meet and interact with officials of the state,who are members of the Executive wing,” a release from the Governor’s office said.
Purohit had faced protests during his visits to some districts in recent months with DMK cadres showing black flags alleging that he was interfering with the state’s autonomy.
This charge, however, has been rejected by the Raj Bhavan as well as the ruling AIADMK and BJP.
On Stalin’s comments that the Governor was ‘holding review meetings in every district like a Chief Minister,’ the release said use of the word ‘review’ by the Leader of the Opposition was an attempt to “mislead the people.”
“He (Stalin) is either ignorant of the law or attempting to overawe by threatening to besiege Raj Bhavan or block the roads leading to Raj Bhavan,” the release said.
“Any attempt to overawe or assault or use criminal force will be dealt with as per the law.” it added.
It cited section 124 of IPC, which said “whoever with the intention of inducing or compelling the President of India, or the Governor of any state… shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years.”
The Governor has the right to take decisions at critical times and for being able to send ‘monthly reports’ to the President, the release said adding, he should be familiar with the features of the districts and problems of people.
Such visits would continue in the same manner in the coming months, as it was for the sake of the common people who benefit from them, it added.
Defending Purohit’s visits, Chief Minister K Palaniswami told reporters in Salem that in a democratic country, one could not say that such visits should not be undertaken.