SC won’t adjourn 11 MLA disqualification case against AIADMK

File photo of TN Assembly and Secretariat.

Chennai:¬†At a time when members of AIADMK camp were rejoicing post the verdict of third judge M Sathyanarayana upholding Speaker Dhanapal’s order disqualifying 18 MLAs last year, the Supreme Court today refused to adjourn the 11-MLA disqualification case filed by the DMK. The hearing was to take place tomorrow where Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Minister Pandiarajan and many key MLAs are involved.

Following this, discussion took place today between Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Panneerselvam, Munusamy, Vaidyalingam and many other key office-bearers of the AIADMK at its headquarters in Royapettah.

The event was significant as is taking place shortly after the rebel MLAs of the T T V Dhinakaran’s camp were invited to return to the fold.

Sources say the meeting saw discussions about activities inside the party, and the issue of the disqualification case under way in the apex court.

On 19 February 2017, a no-confidence motion was moved against Palaniswami during which Panneerselvam and 10 of his supporting MLAs voted against their own party. The principal Opposition, the DMK, filed a petition in the Madras High Court to disqualify the 11 AIADMK MLAs for going against the orders of the party whip.

File photo of O Panneerselvam.

DMK whip R Sakkarapani, who filed the writ petition in September that year in the Madras High Court, stated that the action of OPS and his team were against the law mandated under Tamilnadu Legislative Disqualification on Ground of Defection Rules of 1986.

He also said the MLAs’ action was not condoned by the party. According to the 1986 Rules, the defying MLA has to inform the Speaker within 30 days of the vote if they had been condoned by their party.

Rejecting the premise of the charges, Panneerselvam and his MLAs maintained that that there was no whip to issue directions. In February this year, the DMK countered these claims by providing the court a copy of the affidavit filed by OPS to the Election Commission of India where he had reportedly stated that a whip had, indeed, issued instructions telling the party to vote in favour of EPS.

But, in a huge relief to the ruling AIADMK government, the Madras High Court 27 April delivered a verdict favouring Panneerselvam’s camp at a time when their disqualification could even dissolve the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led government as it will reduce the AIADMK to just 103 MLAs, well short of the 117 that’s necessary for majority.

WHO ARE THE 11?

They are:

O Panneerselvam of Bodinayakanur
Pandiarajan of Avadi
Aarukutty of Kavundampalayam
Shanmuganathan of Srivaikuntam
Manickam of Cholavandan
Manoharan of Vasudevanallur
Manoranjitham of Uthangarai
Saravanan of Madurai South
Semmalai of Mettur
Chinnaraj of Mettupalayam
R Nataraj of Mylapore

NT Bureau