In a major relief to the E K Palaniswami-led government, the Madras High Court today upheld the Tamil Nadu Speaker’s decision to disqualify the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs. The rebels, supporting the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction, were disqualified by P Dhanapal, the Speaker of the House, under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution (known as the anti-defection law) after the former expressed lack of confidence in Chief Minister E Palaniswami.
The rebels later moved a petition in the HC challenging the Speaker’s decision following which the court restrained the Election Commission from declaring their seats vacant.
While delivering the verdict, Justice Sathyanarayanan said there was no infirmity in the order of the Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, which was upheld by Banerjee. “All the material that were available at the time of passing of the order by the Speaker alone have been taken into consideration and this court cannot go into the subsequent events,” he observed while upholding their disqualification.
Welcoming the court’s verdict today, the AIADMK, in a tweet, said it is a “correct lesson for the traitors and that democracy has won”. T T V Dinakaran, on the other hand said “It is not a setback for us. This is an experience, we will face the situation. The future course of action will be decided after meeting with the 18 MLAs.”
In the 234-member Assembly, two seats are vacant, including that of late DMK chief M Karunanidhi. The current strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly is 216. While AIADMK has 116 MLAs, including the Speaker, the Opposition has 98 MLAs.