Setting at rest doubts, Madras high court on Monday ruled that six DMDK MLAs, suspended for six months by the Assembly Speaker, can vote in the June 27 biennial elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu.
When the petition filed by them challenging the suspension came up for hearing, the First Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan said that the MLAs can vote on June 27.
The court was allowing an interim prayer from the MLAs, who apprehended that though they have the voting rights in the Rajya Sabha polls, the Speaker's order suspending them would not enable them to take part in the exercise.
The six MLAs -- V C Chandhira Kumar, P Parthasarthi, T Murugesan, K Nallathambi, S Senthilkumar and R Arulselvam -- were suspended for a year by Speaker P Dhanapal after they allegedly assaulted their colleague Michael Rayappan inside the Assembly on February 8. It was later reduced to six months.
Their suspension had led to speculations whether they can cast their votes in the Rajya Sabha elections or not though their names figured in the electoral roll released by the Election Commission.
The MLAs had earlier moved the high court seeking to set aside the Speaker's order, but their plea was dismissed by a single judge earlier this month following which they filed the present appeal.
Their main prayer seeking quashing of the Speaker's order was posted for hearing to July 3.
DMDK, which has 29 MLAs, including seven dissidents, is locked in a fierce battle with DMK for the sixth seat.DMK with 23 MLAs has mobilised the support of four others belonging to Puthiya Tamizhagam and Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi to ensure the victory of its candidate Kanimozhi.
Both the parties have approached the Congress seeking the support of its five MLAs.