The Madras High Court on Thursday said it would look into how it can issue a notice to Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi in an office-of-profit case, Bar and Bench reported.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice Bharatha Chakravarthy noted that Article 361 of the Constitution states that the president of India and governors of states are not answerable to any court for “any act done in discharge of their official duties”.

The court was hearing a plea alleging that Ravi was guilty of holding an office of profit as he is the chairperson of the governing board of the Auroville Foundation.

On Thursday, the Madras High Court reserved its order on the maintainability of the petition, according to Bar and Bench.

In a gazette notification issued in October last year, the Union Ministry of Education had announced a nine-member board, with Ravi as its chairperson, to manage the functioning of the Auroville Foundation.

The education ministry is in charge of the administration of the Auroville Foundation.

In his plea, M Kannadasan, district chief of the socio-political group Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, has contended that Ravi has been drawing salary and enjoying other benefits like provident funds from holding the post. Kannadasan has alleged that this violates Article 158 (2) of the Constitution, which bars governors from holding any office of profit, The New Indian Express reported.

At Thursday’s hearing, Senior Advocate S Doraisamy, representing the petitioner argued that under Article 361, governors and the president of India enjoy immunity from court proceedings only when a case pertains to the performance of the official duties.

Doraisamy contended that this case was related to the governor heading the board of the Auroville Foundation, which did not fall under his official duty, Bar and Bench reported.

Tamil Nadu governor vs government

Last month, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its allies in Tamil Nadu had submitted a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu demanding that Ravi be removed as the state’s governor.

The memorandum alleged that Ravi’s acts were “unbecoming of the governor” and accused him of delaying assent to Bills cleared by the state Assembly and contradicting the policies of the government in public.

Since Ravi took over as Tamil Nadu governor in September last year, he has been in the middle of multiple controversies and run-ins with the MK Stalin-led government.

In February, he had returned a Bill to the Assembly for reconsideration as it proposed to exempt Tamil Nadu students from taking the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test, or NEET, for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

In June, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had also accused Ravi of undermining his constitutional authority after he said that sanatan dharma – a term often used by Hindutva supporters – upholds unity in diversity, according to The Times of India.

In August, he again courted controversy by saying that there should be zero tolerance towards violence and “anyone who uses a gun should be dealt with a gun”.