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