‘Speaker has refused to accept notice’
Advocate-General says he is not aware of development
The Madras High Court was informed on Thursday that Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal had refused to accept a private notice in a case seeking a direction to him to initiate disqualification proceedings against Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his team of MLAs for having voted against a confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal representing DMK whip R. Sakkarapani told the Madras High Court on Thursday that Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal refused to accept a private notice in a case seeking a direction to him to initiate disqualification proceedings against Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his team of MLAs for having voted against a confidence motion moved by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on February 18.
The submission was made before Justice K. Ravichandrabaabu who was seized of the writ petition filed by the whip. When the judge wanted to know if the allegation of refusal to accept notice was true, Advocate-General Vijay Narayan, representing the Assembly Secretary, said he was not aware of any such thing. Senior counsel Amarendra Sharan told the judge that it was the latter who had granted him permission on October 4 to issue private notices.
Senior counsel N.R. Ilango of the DMK pointed out that all the others, including Mr. Panneerselvam and his team of MLAs, had accepted the private notices and entered appearance through their counsel. Wondering how Mr. Dhanapal could refuse to accept notice in this case alone, Mr. Sibal pointed out that the Speaker was represented by his lawyers before the same court in all other cases including those challenging disqualification of 18 MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
The senior counsel also objected to a request made by the Advocate-General to adjourn the case to sometime next month for the filing of counter-affidavits. He insisted that the present case should also be posted on October 27 along with another case filed by 21 DMK legislators challenging the privilege proceedings initiated against them. “Everything in this case is a matter of record. They (OPS team) cannot deny having defied a whip issued by their party on February 18,” he pointed out.
Stating that a reasonable time should be given to the respondents to file their replies, Mr. Narayanan said: “They (DMK) waited for seven months (since the February 18 trust vote) to file this petition but want the court to hear the case immediately. How could this be possible?”
The judge adjourned the hearing to October 27.
O. Panneerselvam and his supporters cannot deny that they defied the whip, DMK counsel said.