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Madras High Court Upholds Disqualification Of 18 AIADMK MLAs, Bypolls Likely To Follow

The 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified on September 18 last year under the anti-defection law after they met the Governor and expressed loss of confidence in Palaniswami.

Madras High Court Upholds Disqualification Of 18 AIADMK MLAs, Bypolls Likely To Follow
On June 14, a division bench of the Madras High Court had given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of these legislator. | File Photo
Madras High Court Upholds Disqualification Of 18 AIADMK MLAs, Bypolls Likely To Follow
outlookindia.com
2018-10-25T10:50:14+05:30

The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the disqualification of the 18 AIADMK MLAs that happened more than a year ago.

The Supreme Court on June appointed Justice M. Sathyanarayanan as the third judge in the 18 MLAs case, replacing Justice S. Vimala.

On June 14, the first bench of the court passed a split verdict, with the then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upholding the decision of the assembly Speaker in disqualifying the MLAs under the anti-defection law. 

Earlier this week, ahead of the verdict in the case, the 18 disqualified MLAs moved to a resort near the Tirunelveli district on the instructions of rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.

According to reports, all the rebel MLAs barring P Vetrivel are likely to remain holed up at a resort in Courtallam till the verdict comes out.

The case:

Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal had on September 18 last year disqualified the 18 MLAs owing allegiance to side-lined party leader Dhinakaran on the grounds that they had tried to pull down the AIADMK government in the state.

In view of the split verdict with Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upholding the disqualification and Justice Sundar setting it aside, Justice S Vimala was appointed to hear the petitions afresh.

However, the apex court named Justice Sathyanarayanan while declining to accept a prayer of the disqualified MLAs who raised apprehension of "bias" and sought to transfer the matter to the apex court.

Justifying the decision of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (AIADMK) chief had whipped in recommending disqualification of the 18 rebel MLAs, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the whip was compelled since the legislators acted against the party's decision.

He said the whip was also justified in sparing S T K Jakkaiyan form disqualification since he withdrew his complaint made to the Governor, and it was informed in writing to the Speaker.

What will happen next?

As Justice Sathyanarayanan upholds the disqualification, it will lead to by-elections on all the 18 seats that would be vacant. This would turn out to be a litmus test for the EPS-OPS government, test for the AIADMK government, whose popularity has been on the decline since the demise of J Jayalalithaa.

In the 232-member strong house, the AIADMK has the support of 115 legislators, including Karunas and three other MLAs.

The opposition DMK, along with its allies, has 98 members in the house.

( With inputs from agencies)

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