Madras HC says no Tamil Nadu floor test for now
With the disqualification of 18 dissident MLAs, the magic number in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly comes to 108, giving CM Palaniswami an upper hand in the AIADMK power struggle.india Updated: Sep 20, 2017 16:41 IST
The Madras high court said on Wednesday that there would be no floor test in the assembly until the court disposed of all petitions challenging the disqualification of rebel AIADMK legislators who are key to the survival of the state government.
Justice M Duraiswamy gave the order while hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs, who support expelled former deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, by the assembly Speaker P Dhanapal on Monday.
The court set the next date of hearing on October 4 but didn’t stay the disqualifications, which have been contested both by the opposition DMK and Dinakaran.
Justice Duraiswamy also barred any bypoll notification for the seats held by the disqualified MLAs.
Eight of the 18 MLAs had moved the court on Monday, challenging the action against them under the anti-defection law. The dissident MLAs condemned the Speaker’s order as ‘unauthorised’ and ‘illegal’ in their individual petitions.
The 18 rebel MLAs say that their disqualification under anti-defection laws doesn’t stand legal scrutiny as they didn’t join any other party.
The petitioners also sought to restrain the Speaker, government chief whip S Rajendran, chief minister Palaniswami and the assembly secretary from interfering with their rights as elected representatives.
The Monday disqualification was a boost to Palaniswami as it brought the halfway mark in the 234-member assembly down to 108 from 117. The AIADMK government claims the support of 114 MLAs. If the disqualifications are reversed, then the chief minister doesn’t have the numbers to command a majority.
The current crisis began last month after Palaniswami and deputy chief minister Panneerselvam removed Dinakaran and his aunt, jailed party ex-secretary VK Sasikala, from all party posts. Dinakaran struck back, claiming the support of 18 MLAs, who expressed their lack of confidence in the CM in a letter to the governor.