The Madras High Court on Monday ordered notices, returnable by June, to DMK president M.K. Stalin and many other legislators on writ appeals preferred by the Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretary and its Privileges Committee, challenging a single judge’s order which set aside fresh show cause notices issued to the legislators last year for having displayed banned gutkha sachets in the House in July 2017.
Justices M.M. Sundresh and R.N. Manjula chose to order notices after Advocate General Vijay Narayan said the proceedings of the Committee of Privileges could be continued even after the expiry of the present Assembly. Special senior counsel for the government A.L. Somayaji said that there was every possibility of the same government continuing for another term and hence the appeals would gain relevance.
The explanations were given since the polling for the Assembly election had already been conducted on April 6 and the counting of votes is expected to be carried out on May 2. Though the appeals were within days after Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana quashed the show cause notices on February 10, they got listed for admission only on Monday.
Allowing a batch of writ petitions filed by the legislators, the single judge had set aside the fresh show cause notices issued to them by the Committee of Privileges in September 2020. The original notices issued in 2017 were quashed by a Division Bench of the court in August 2020 with liberty to proceed further if the committee was still of the view that any of the privileges of the House had been breached. On the strength of such liberty, the Committee issued fresh notices but they did not find favour with the single judge.