DMK president M Karunanidhi has turned the criminal defamation proceedings initiated against him by Tamil Nadu government into a high-voltage media event by deciding to turn up in person at a court on Monday in response to summons.
Instead of seeking exemption from personal appearance, as is the usual practice, the veteran DMK leader, who is wheelchair-bound, had announced a couple of days ago that he would appear in person before the principal sessions court in Chennai to respond to charges.
The complaint relates to a statement by the former chief minister demanding to know what chief minister J Jayalalitha had achieved in her four years in power. Karunanudhi has already said that the statement was merely a reiteration of what Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan had asked in its November 25, 2015 issue.
The weekly , which too is facing a defa mation complaint over the same issue, has already declared that it would face the case legally , said Karunanidhi.
With an eye on political mileage, DMK’s legal wing secretary R Girirajan on Sunday issued a circular exhorting all party lawyers to be present in court ‘in coat and gown’ when their leader makes his appearance. Karunanidhi’s outing is an opportunity for the DMK to draw attention to, what it describes as, the persecution of the ruling party’s critics and political rivals.
Apart from the task of managing DMK workers, security and court personnel will have an additional challenge on their hands because Karunanidhi enjoys Z-degree protection. There is no ramp facility at the court’s entrance, but there is an elevator for the court hall located on the first floor, said a court officer making arrangements for the visit.
A mock drill involving court and police officials was held on court campus on Saturday to finalise security details, sources told TOI.
Permission has been given for a total of 11 vehicles to enter court campus, and leaders like DMK treasurer and former deputy chief minister M K Stalin, and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi are expected to accompany Karunanidhi on Monday .About 500 party lawyers have confirmed their attendance.
The high court campus, part of which is now under the control of the Central Industrial Security Force, can stop the party workers from entering, but there is no provision to stop the lawyers.
MDMK leader Vaiko regularly visits courts for cases both filed by and against him.He also turns court campuses into a platform to discuss non-legal issues with the media.