HC delivers split verdict on MLAs disqualification

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Chennai, June 14:
Madras High Court today delivered split verdict on the petitions challenging disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs loyal to sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran.
The 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 and a gazette notification was issued declaring that vacancies to their seats have arisen due to the Anti-Defection Act.
The Madras High Court today delivered a split verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran. While Chief Justice Indira Banerjee favoured upholding Speaker P. Dhanapal’s decision to disqualify the dissident MLAs, Justice Sundar disagreed to it.
The matter will now be heard by a third judge. Since the Chief Justice has differed with the companion judge, the third judge will be nominated by Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh. Till the third judge pronounces the verdict, no floor test will be conducted in the House.
On September 18, 2017, 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.The meeting and subsequent press briefing by the MLAs prompted Chief Government Whip S. Rajendiran to petition the Speaker on August 24, praying for the disqualification of all 19 MLAs, saying their actions amounted to voluntarily giving up their membership of the AIADMK.
Thangatamilselvan (Andipatti constituency), R. Murugan (Harur), S. Mariappan Kennedy (Manamadurai), K. Karthirkamu (Periyakulam), C. Jayanthi Padmanabhan (Gudiyattam), P. Palaniappan (Pappireddipatti), V. Senthilbalaji (Aravakurichi), S. Muthiah (Paramakudi), P. Vetrivel (Perambur), N.G. Parthiban (Sholingur), M. Kothandapani (Tiruporur), T.A. Elumalai (Poonnamalee), M. Rengasamy (Thanjavur), R. Thangathurai (Nilakottai), R. Balasubramani (Ambur), Ethirkottai S.G. Subramanian (Sattur), R. Sundaraj (Ottapidaram) and K. Uma Maheswari (Vilathikulam) were disqualified. They challenged the Speaker’s decision in the court.