Hearing in privilege case adjourned to October 27
Bar on proceeding against DMK legislators who displayed gutkha to continue
The Madras High Court on Thursday adjourned to October 27 the hearing on writ petitions filed by 21 DMK legislators challenging the proceedings initiated against them by the Committee of Privileges of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for having displayed gutkha sachets in the Assembly on July 19 to highlight their availability in shops despite a State-wide ban.
Justice K. Ravichandrabaabu deferred the hearing after Advocate-General Vijay Narayan, representing the Assembly Secretary, sought an adjournment on the ground that though a counter-affidavit had been finalised, it would take some time to serve copies on Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, Amarendra Sharan, R. Shunmugasundaram and N.R. Ilango representing the petitioners.
In the meantime, an interim order passed by Justice M. Duraiswamy on September 8, when he was handling the writ portfolio last month, restraining the Committee of Privileges from proceeding further, would continue since the judge had made clear that his order would be in operation until further orders.
Presenting a brief history of the case before Mr. Justice Ravichandrabaabu, Mr. Sibal said that certain dates were very crucial for adjudication since they would prove the mala fide intention behind the privilege proceedings. He alleged that the proceedings were initiated to prevent the MLAs from attending the Assembly in case of a trust vote being held.
“The gutkha sachets were displayed on July 19 and the Speaker referred the issue to the Privileges Committee on the same day. Thereafter, people went into a deep slumber. On August 22, 19 AIADMK MLAs of the T.T.V. Dhinakaran group expressed no confidence on the Chief Minister, and on August 26, the Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin demanded a floor test.
“Immediately, the Committee Chairman (Pollachi V. Jayaraman, who was also the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly) issued showcause notices to the petitioners on August 28,” the Senior Counsel pointed out.
Those who had approached the court challenging the proceedings were Mr. Stalin, representing the Kolathur constituency, A.R.R. Seenivasan (Virudhunagar), B. Ranganathan (Villivakkam), Govi. Chezhian (Tiruvidaimarudhur), J. Anbazhagan (Chepauk), K.P.P. Samy (Tiruvottiyur), K.S. Ravichandran (Egmore), Ku. Ka. Selvam (Thousand Lights), M.P. Giri (Chengam) and N. Karthik (Singanallur). MLAs P. Karthikeyan (Vellore), P.K. Sekar Babu (Harbour), P.N.P. Inbasekaran (Pennagaram), P. Sivakumar alias Thayagam Kavi (Thiru.Vi.Ka. Nagar), R.T. Arasu (Cheyyur), Saba. Rajendran (Neyveli), S. Ambeth Kumar (Vandavasi), S. Pugazhenthi (Madurantakam), S. Thangapandian (Rajapalayam) and S. Sudharsanam (Madavaram) had also filed individual writ petitions.
The DMK claims the proceedings were initiated to ensure the government’s victory in the trust vote.