The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday, a plea of 18 disqualified MLAs of AIADMK seeking transfer of their petition challenging their disqualification by the Tamil Nadu assembly speaker from Madras high Court to the apex court.
The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday, a plea of 18 disqualified MLAs of AIADMK seeking transfer of their petition challenging their disqualification by the Tamil Nadu assembly speaker from Madras high Court to the apex court. The disqualified MLAs claimed that the split verdict of the high court given on June 14, would further delay holding of fresh elections to the assembly seats. A vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said it will hear the matter day after tomorrow and directed listing of the petition.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the 18 disqualified MLAs, said it is a serious matter which required urgent hearing as the high court has given a split verdict on June 14 and the third judge is scheduled to hear the matter afresh. “This would further delay holding of fresh elections to the assembly seats,” Singh said, while alleging that many people had got to know through WhatsApp messages about the third judge who will be hearing the case after the split verdict, even before his name was declared.
The court said, “we don’t go by WhatsApp messages. List the matter on June 27 for hearing”. Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker P Dhanapal had on September 18 last year disqualified the 18 MLAs owing allegiance to side-lined party leader TTV Dhinakaran on the ground that they had tried to pull down the AIADMK government in the state.
On June 14, the Madras High Court had given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of these legislators, a ruling that maintained status quo in the corridors of power in Tamil Nadu. A division bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar delivered divergent verdicts on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified under the anti-defection law by the speaker for approaching the Governor and seeking the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The court had ruled that the senior-most judge after the high court Chief Justice would now hand-pick a third judge, who will hear the matter afresh. In her 200-page order, the chief justice had upheld the Speaker’s decision, saying “in my opinion, the view taken by the Speaker is a possible, if not plausible view, and I am unable to hold that the said decision is any way unreasonable, irrational or perverse.”
Justice Sundar, in his 135-page order, struck a dissenting note, insisting that Dhanapal’s order “deserved to be set aside on grounds of perversity, non-compliance with principles of natural justice, mala fides and violation of the constitutional mandate”. The chief justice said status quo would continue till the third judge delivered the verdict on the petitions.