Madras HC Upholds Disqualification Of 18 Rebel AIADMK MLAs; CM Palaniswami Calls The Verdict "God-Given"
On October 25, the Madras High Court upheld the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs, who had sided with newly formed Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam(AMMK) chief TTV Dhinakaran. Notably, TTV Dinakaran was ousted from AIADMK last year from the post of Deputy General Secretary.
The much-awaited verdict has come as a relief for Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. However, the disqualified MLA has decided to appeal in the Supreme Court to try and regain their status.
By-polls on 20 seats
According to The New Indian Express, the former MLAs were disqualified by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal in September 2017. The membership of these leaders was cancelled under Anti-Defection Law after the MLAs rebelled against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Palaniswami and went and met the governor to express their loss of confidence in him last year. The 18 MLA with the expelled MLA of AIADMK, Dhinakaran made his party- AMMK.
On Thursday, Justice M Sathyanarayanan in his verdict said that the speaker’s order was in accordance with the Constitution. Now with this verdict, there will be by-elections in 18 seats, and two other vacant seats- Tiruvarur and Thirupparankundram which was represented by late M Karunanidhi and late MLA A K Bose respectively, as reported by Economic Times.
The two sides
The ruling party’s jubilant Palaniswami expressed his happiness on the courts’ decision terming it to be a “good” thing. He said the verdict was “God-given” and also the AIADMK is ready for the by-elections. Opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), also urged the Election Commission to start the by-poll election process immediately.
However, the undaunted AMMK MLAs did not show any remorse on the verdict and kept their cool on the verdict. Dinnkaran said he did not see the verdict as a setback for his camp and termed it as an experience.
One of the disqualified MLA, Thanga Tamilselvan, said the decision was “unanimous” and accepted with “joy” by all the 18 MLAs.
“It has been decided that we will go in for an appeal to show to the world that what the Speaker has done is a mistake. We are going to appeal in the Supreme Court,” he told reporters.
Last year in August, 18 MLAs belonging to the AIADMK broke out with the party. The MLAs led by Dhinakaran met the then Governor C Vidyasagar Rao expressing their withdrawal of support to the Palaniswami, but not AIADMK government. Following this, the speaker disqualified the MLA under the anti-defection law.
The MLA approached the Madras High Court to appeal their disqualification. In June this year, the Madras High Court first bench gave a split order following with the Supreme Court appointed a third judge to hear the case. The recent verdict from the Madras High Court has upheld the 18 MLAs disqualification, which is a boost to the Palaniswami. As it has brought the halfway mark in the 234 member assembly to 108 from the previous 117, reports the Hindustan Times.