Amid pandemic, the Tamil Nadu Assembly session is scheduled to be held from Monday, and is poised to be a tumultuous one with DMK approaching Madras High Court against the fresh privilege notice issued to them for displaying banned gutkha products in the House. The Opposition party led by M K Stalin alleged that the ruling AIADMK is trying to prevent its MLAs from attending the Assembly session.
In a statement here, DMK president M K Stalin, said he along with his other party MLAs have filed a writ petition in the High Court against the fresh notice issued by Assembly Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman, who heads the Privileges Committee.
Stalin said in his statement that the first bench of Chief Justice A P Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had on 25 August, citing “foundational errors”, set aside the privilege notices issued against him and 17 of his party MLAs for displaying banned gutka packets in the Assembly in July 2017.
The Court in its 25 August order had also said that the privilege committee is at liberty to issue fresh notices if it still feels that the act amounts to breach of privilege to them. It also mentioned that the legislators could appear before the committee to present their arguments.
Following this, the Committee again met on 7 September on an issue that took place three years back and fresh notices were issued to the DMK MLAs asking them to reply to it on 14 September, when the brief three-day Assembly session begins.
Stating that the motive behind issuing of fresh notices was to prevent DMK MLAs from attending the session and to scuttle them from raising the alleged inept handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the government in the House, the DMK chief said he and the other legislators have filed a new writ plea in the Court challenging the notice because of that.
DMK legislators had on 19 July, 2017 displayed gutkha sachets in the House to substantiate their claim that the banned items were being freely available in petty shops.
Though breach of privilege proceedings were initiated against 21 DMK MLAs and all of them had approached the High Court, two MLAs~K P P Samy and J Anbazhagan~ died and another MLA Ku Ka Selvam was dismissed from the party and hence was not represented by any counsel before the Court. After a single Judge had granted an interim stay stating that no action should be taken with regard to the notices issued to the DMK MLAs, the Legislative Assembly Secretary filed an appeal seeking to vacate the stay after which the case was referred to a twomember bench.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam have all been tested negative for Coronavirus.
With the Assembly session slated to begin on 14 September, coronavirus tests were taken for all participating members yesterday. Assembly session beginning here on 14 September would be a brief one and would last for three days. The session would be held at Kalaivanar Arangam, instead of state assembly hall at Fort St George to ensure physical distancing among the MLAs as there was space crunch in the present assembly hall.
Meanwhile, the Opposition DMK is facing an embarrassment as the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued orders to seize properties worth Rs 89.19 crore held by DMK MP and former Union Minister of state S Jagathrakshakan and his family members.
The ED passed the orders under Section 37A of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA).