In a relief to the DMK, the Madras High Court has said that there were 'foundational errors' in the breach of privilege notice issued against DMK President MK Stalin and 18 other MLAs for displaying contraband 'gutka' sachets inside the Tamil Nadu State Assembly in July 2017 to underscore their free availability.
With the court order against the breach of privilege notice, it is now up to the privileges committee to reconsider the issue.
In its observation, the court said: "To atribute malice to such a transaction and hold it to be a foundation for a notice of breach of privilege may be a difficult task, as a breach of privilege and its complaint has to be examined only within the meaning of the words privilege and its breach. To import political affiliations and maneuverings as the foundation of malice in a privilege motion can be at best an allegation..."
The court in its final order stated: "The petitioners cannot be proceeded against on the strength of the impugned notices dated 28.8.2017 by treating their conduct on 19.7.2017 of displaying 'gutka' sachets and photographs as being violative of any prohibitory law.."
The 'gutka' scam was a key issue with which the DMK attacked the ruling Palaniswami government, during the turbulent period of factionalism within the AIADMK. The Central Bureau of Investigation is currently probing whether there were ministerial interventions to enable the sale of 'gutka' in Tamil Nadu.