CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Tuesday set aside a breach of privilege motion initiated against 19 MLAs, including DMK president M K Stalin, for waving gutka packets in the Tamil Nadu assembly. The 19 MLAs also include Ku Ka Selvam who was expelled from the party recently.
The first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed the order while partly allowing the petitions moved by the legislators.
However, the privilege committee is at liberty to reconsider the issue if it still feels that the act amounts to breach of privilege, the court said.
On July 19, 2017, Stalin and 20 other DMK MLAs waved gutka packets inside the House to demonstrate that the banned item was easily available in the state. However, the speaker referred the issue to the privilege committee to ascertain whether their action would constitute breach of privilege of the House.
On August 28, 2017, the privilege committee of the assembly initiated the proceedings and issued show-cause notices to Stalin and 20 MLAs asking them why action should not be taken against them for the breach of privilege of the assembly.
Challenging the proceeding, the 21 legislators moved the high court. On September 7, 2017 the high court passed an interim order and stayed further proceedings in the issue. Two of the 21 MLAs died in the meantime.
After a lull of three years, on July 10, advocate-general Vijay Narayan and government pleader V Jayaprakash Narayan made a mention before the first bench seeking to recommence the hearing of the case.
“The term of the legislators as well as the Tamil Nadu is going to expire soon, and the case must be allotted an early hearing and brought to a logical conclusion,” Vijay Narayan said.
In view of the submission, the case was taken up for final hearing on August 12, 13 and 14. After three days of continuous hearing the bench reserved its order.