Madras HC upholds disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs


Chennai: The Madras High Court today upheld the June 14 order of the then Chief Justice disqualifying 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs, in a big relief to the K Palaniswami government.

Justice M Sathyanarayanan heard the pleas of the rival parties after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict on June 14.

The 18 disqualified MLAs are loyal to the sidelined All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dhinakaran, who has now formed his own party –the AMMK.

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.

The legislators were disqualified in September 2017 after they supported Dinakaran. This brought the Assembly’s effective strength down to 215 and the half-way mark to 108. With this verdict, there is no current threat to the government of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. The government may have collapsed had the court reinstated the MLAs.

Following the split verdict, with Banerjee upholding the disqualification and Sundar setting it aside, Justice S Vimala was appointed to hear the petitions afresh. However, the Supreme Court named Justice Sathyanarayanan to hear the matter, while declining to accept a prayer of the disqualified MLAs who raised apprehension of “bias”. They had sought the matter to be transferred to the apex court.

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