HC de­liv­ers split ver­dict on dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of 18 AIADMK MLAs


IN a re­lief to the Palaniswami gov­ern­ment, the Madras High Court on Thursday de­liv­ered a split ver­dict on the pe­ti­tions chal­leng­ing dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of 18 AIADMK leg­is­la­tors loyal to side­lined leader TTV Dhi­nakaran.

In the keenly-awaited judge­ment, Chief Jus­tice Indira Ban­er­jee up­held the Septem­ber 18 last or­der of Tamil Nadu Assem­bly Speaker P Dhana­pal dis­qual­i­fy­ing the MLAs, while Jus­tice M Sun­dar dis­agreed with her and struck it down. The se­nior-most judge af­ter her will de­cide the third judge who would hear the mat­ter afresh, Jus­tice Ban­er­jee said. The split ver­dict has come as a big re­lief to the AIADMK gov­ern­ment headed by Chief Min­is­ter K Palaniswami as any pos­si­ble threat to its sta­bil­ity has been averted for now.

The bench was pass­ing or­ders on pe­ti­tions filed by the 18 MLAs chal­leng­ing their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion by the speaker un­der the anti-de­fec­tion law. The MLAs were dis­qual­i­fied af­ter they had called on the gov­er­nor on Au­gust 22 last year ex­press­ing their lack of con­fi­dence in the lead­er­ship of Palaniswami and seek­ing a change of guard.

Re­act­ing to the ver­dict, Amma Makkal Mun­netra Kazhagam chief TTV Dhi­nakaran said, “I feel dis­sat­is­fied that the ver­dict has fa­cil­i­tated in giv­ing two or three months of ex­ten­sion to the anti-peo­ple gov­ern­ment in Tamil Nadu. Even peo­ple are dis­sat­is­fied.” He fur­ther said, “I ap­pre­ci­ate the judge who has clearly stated in the judge­ment that the Speaker’s de­ci­sion is wrong. But the Chief Jus­tice’s ver­dict is in con­tra­dic­tion with the one she gave in a sim­i­lar case in­volv­ing Puducherry Speaker two months ago. I do not un­der­stand how the law dif­fers in two dif­fer­ent places.”

Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the TN assem­bly MK Stalin said, “At a time when peo­ple are pin­ning hopes on ju­di­ciary to safe­guard democ­racy, the need is a clear, just and quick ver­dict. Jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice de­nied.”

The ver­dict is a re­lief to the Palaniswami gov­ern­ment as any threat to its sta­bil­ity has been averted for now

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