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Disqualified AIADMK MLAs seek transfer of case after split verdict, SC to hear plea

The apex court has admitted petitions filed by 17 MLAs who had been disqualified in September 2017 for their allegiance to rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2018 22:20 IST
CS Kotteswaran and M Manikandan
CS Kotteswaran and M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
AIADMK MLAs,Disqualified AIADMK MLAs,Madras high court
A view of Supreme Court building in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

The fate of the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu will now be decided by the Supreme Court (SC).

The apex court has admitted petitions filed by 17 MLAs who had been disqualified in September 2017 for their allegiance to rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran.

The petitions challenge a split verdict on the decision of disqualification given by theMadras high court (HC) on June 14 and the case is likely to be heard on Wednesday. The case was to have been heard by a third HC judge following the split verdict.

“We have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the split verdict delivered on June 14. This verdict enables the third judge to hear the case and will give additional time for the Edappadi government which has lost its majority last year,” said P Vettrivel, one of the disqualified MLAs and a strong supporter of Dhinakaran.

Echoing Vettrivel, Dr K Kathirkamu, another disqualified MLA, emphasised that twelve days had passed since the HC judgment and the third judge had not started the hearing. “Justice delayed is justice denied. We believe that only Supreme Court can end this issue... ”he said.

According to senior advocate Raja Senthur Pandian, counsel for the disqualified MLAs, the main prayer before the apex court is to protect the fundamentals of Representation of People’s Act, 1951. “Section 151 of the RP Act mandates the necessity of MLAs and there cannot be vacant seats for more than six months. Whereas, 18 seats in Tamil Nadu have been vacant for more than nine months,” Pandian said.

However, Thanga Tamilselvan, another disqualified MLA, wanted to withdraw his petition. “I don’t want to appeal before SC. Consultations are on with my counsels. I will withdraw my petition challenging the speaker’s decision after getting legal doubts clarified,” Tamilselvan said.

Senior minister D Jayakumar said, “The disqualification was a decision taken by the assembly speaker and there are petitions pending in this regard. The party and the government has nothing to do with the appeal and it is for the speaker to respond...”

Meanwhile political commentator Tharaasu Shyam noted that the appeal was a strategic move. “Outcomes like setting aside the HC order will immediately benefit the disqualified MLAs or the SC bench can also direct a time frame for the third judge to deliver the final verdict,” he said.

First Published: Jun 25, 2018 12:07 IST