The Madras High Court delivered a split verdict after hearing the case against the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs for anti-party activities today. Chief Justice Indira Banerjee was in favour of Speaker P. Dhanapal’s decision to disqualify the MLAs but Justice Sundar disagreed.
The matter will now be heard by a third judge who will be nominated by Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh. The court has ordered that no floor test or bypolls can be conducted till the third judge gives his verdict.
Why were the MLAs disqualified ?
The MLAs were supporting ousted AIADMK Deputy General Secretary, now AMMK leader and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran, The disqualification was on the grounds that ‘they had voluntarily given up their party membership’.
In August last year they had filed individual petitions with then Governor Vidyasagar Rao expressing a lack of confidence in Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and withdrew support to him.
Following this, AIADMK Chief Whip S Rajendran filed a complaint with the Speaker claiming that the MLAs were indulging in anti-party activities.
Then, on September 18, 2017, The Speaker, P. Dhanapal disqualified the 18 MLAs by exercising his powers under the 10th schedule to the Constitution (popularly known as the anti-defection law) and the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on ground of defection) Rules of 1986 and a gazette notification was issued declaring that vacancies to their seats have arisen due to the Anti-Defection Act.
The MLAs moved to the high court calling the Speaker’s decision illegal. The Madras high court on September 20 ordered a stay on the bye-polls but refused to stay their disqualification.
The disqualified MLAs are, Thangatamizhchelvan (Andipatti), R Murugan (Aroor), Mariappan Kennedy (Manamadurai), Kathirgamu (Periyakulam), C Jayanthi Padmanabhan (Gudiyatham), P Pazhaniyappan (Papireddypatti), V Senthil Balaji (Aravakurichi), Dr S Muthiah (Paramakudi), P Vetrivel (Peramboor), NG Parthiban (Sholingar), M Kothandapani (Tiruporur), TA Ezhumalai (Poonamallee), M Rangasamy (Thanjavur), R Thangadurai (Nilakottai), R Balasubramani (Ambur), Edhirkottai SG Subramanian (Sathur), R Kandaraj (Ottapidaram), and K Uma Maheshwari (Vilathikulam)
Today’s verdict gives a clear indication that neither bypolls nor floor test will be conducted until the court decides which itself would take at least two months for the new judge to get known about the case and then deliver his/her verdict.
(PHOTO INPUT:- MADRAS HIGH COURT)