20 September, Chennai
In the case challenging the disqualification of the 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs of Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court adjourned the case to October 4 as more time was sought from the Speaker’s side to file a detailed reply.
The court also asked not to notify that the constituencies occupied by the disqualified MLAs are vacant.
The direction has restrained the Election Commission from initiating the process of bye-elections in those constituencies till the court makes any further direction.
It is also being interpreted by legal professionals as restraining any trust vote till October 4 the date of next hearing.
The court in another related case earlier restrained the Speaker from going ahead with any move to conduct floor test. However, the disqualification of the MLAs by the Speaker has not been stayed by the court today.
The bunch of petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs came up for hearing today before Justice Duraisamy.
On behalf of the petitioners, senior counsels Dushyant Dave and Salman Khurshid appeared and said the Speaker’s action is not in conformity with the provisions of the Anti-Defection law.
They pointed out that in the AIADMK, O.Panneerselvam and his faction MLAs before the merger with the Edappadi K Palaniswamy camp voted against the Government in the House during the February trust vote.
They said no action has been initiated against them. Rather, Panneerselvam has been accommodated in the cabinet as the Deputy Chief Minister.
The counsels said their clients approached the Governor only against the Chief Minister adding, they were not against an AIADMK Government.
They also said the Speaker’s decisions can be subjected to judicial review as has been done in many occasions in the past. Countering the averments, Arima Sundaram, the counsel to the Speaker said irrelevant claims are being made in the Court that are not pertinent to the case at hand.
He protested against the petitioners’ counsels’s argument that the Centre is operating the state government saying the court hall should not be used as a political platform.