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Madras High Court dismisses pleas to disqualify OPS, 10 others

This is a huge relief to the ruling AIADMK as a disqualification would have meant bringing down its legislator count in the Assembly to 103,

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 27, 2018, 06.06 PM IST
Watch: Madras HC rejects plea seeking disqualification of OPS, 10 AIADMK MLAs
Watch: Madras HC rejects plea seeking disqualification of OPS, 10 AIADMK MLAs

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today dismissed a batch of writ petitions filed by the DMK party whip and others seeking disqualification of current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and 10 other legislators for violating the AIADMK party whip's directions during the February 2017 trust vote advanced by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and justice Abdul Quddhose, while dismissing the petition, held that the court cannot issue directions to the Speaker when he had chosen not to act, considering such a directive to be judicial overreach.

Amid reports of the DMK planning to file for review of the judgment, several AIADMK legislators welcome the decision. "With the people of Tamil Nadu by our side, the DMK will not be able to bring down our government,” VC Arukutty, one of the legislators who had sided with Panneerselvam in his rebellion against Sasikala, said after the pronouncement of the verdict.

The Speaker, had in September last year, disqualified 18 legislators loyal to Dhinakaran after they submitted a letter with the Governor withdrawing their support to chief minister Palaniswami. Some of these legislators had also approached the court with the same plea: seeking directions to the Speaker to disqualify Panneerselvam and others. N Raja Senthoor Pandian, counsellor for the disqualified legislators, said there are considerations of going for a review of Friday’s judgment. AIADMK spokespersons also hoped Friday's judgment would set a precedent in the case filed by MLAs loyal to Dhinkaran against their disqualification.

The AIADMK, led by Jayalalithaa, had won 134 seats in 2016 Assembly elections. Post a 3-set victory in by-polls, its tally went up to 137 while the DMK-led Opposition combine had 98 seats. Considering VK Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran winning the by-poll necessitated by Jayalalithaa's death and the disqualification of 18 MLAs loyal to him, the tally of legislators who won on Two Leaves has dropped to 117. Excluding the Speaker, the number is 116 legislators in Assembly.

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