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The Madras High Court on Tuesday reportedly asked in open court whether a Chief Minister could file a writ petition against the state. A bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala was prompted to ask this question while hearing a writ petition filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president and Tami Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.

The plea was seeking a CBI probe into the collapse of an under-construction building at Moulivakkam near Chennai in 2014. When the matter was taken up for hearing, the court was apprised that the counsel on record could not carry the case forward and Advocate Richardson Wilson intended to file a change in vakalath.

The court then asked if the Chief Minister could pursue this plea against the State. The matter was filed in 2014 and the prayer doesn’t survive now. So, the matter would have to be withdrawn, he replied while seeking a week’s time for filing a change in vakalath. The case pertained the collapse of an 11-story building under construction in Moulivakkam, Chennai, near Porur, which resulted in the deaths of 61 persons and the injuries of 27 others.

 A Special Investigation Team led by a former Madras High Court judge was established by the then-chief minister, J Jayalalithaa, to investigate the events behind the building’s collapse. Stalin, however, moved the court to request a transfer of the inquiry to the CBI, voicing misgivings over the SIT’s ongoing investigation. The case was last scheduled for March of 2017. Stalin then took over as CM in May 2021. The matter will next come up on January 9.