Judge recuses himself from hearing DMK MLAs’ cases

Justice K. Ravichandrabaabu of the Madras High Court on Friday recused himself from hearing a batch of writ petitions filed by DMK president M.K. Stalin and 17 other MLAs from his party challenging fresh notices issued to them in the 2017 breach of privilege proceedings.

The judge told senior counsel R. Shunmugasundaram and N.R. Elango, representing the MLAs, that he had on November 2, 2017, recused himself from hearing the earlier writ petitions filed by the MLAs on the same issue and hence he did not want to hear the present writ petitions too.

Though the senior counsel stated that the Committee of Privileges had directed the MLAs to appear for an inquiry before it on Monday and hence it may be directed not to precipitate the issue, the judge said it may not be appropriate for him to pass interim orders after recusing.

Since the Madras High Court had already in place standing orders with regard to listing of cases before alternative judges in case of recusal, the judge asked the lawyers to make a mention before Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana for early hearing of the cases.

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had recently held that the show cause notices issued to the MLAs by the Privileges Committee in 2017 suffered from a foundational error and left it open to it to issue fresh notices.

Hence, the committee had issued fresh notices on September 7 forcing the MLAs to file new cases challenging the latest notices.

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