Madras HC Stays Floor Test Until Further Orders, Hearing On Oct 4September 20, 2017 15:33
(Image source from: India Today)
Madras HC Stays Floor Test Until Further Orders, Hearing On Oct 4:- The stay order on floor test in Tamil Nadu Assembly, until further orders has been extended by the Madras High Court, on Wednesday.
There will be no election notification to seats of 18 disqualified MLAs, directed the High Court and also there will be no stay on the disqualification of MLAs and adjourned the case to October 4.
After hearing the plea of 18 MLAs, the High Court passed its judgment. The 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs supporting rebel leader TTV Dinakaran, were disqualified by Speaker P Dhanapal for withdrawing their support to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy and going against the “line of the ruling AIADMK”.
Aryama Sundaram, the lawyer of Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal, during the hearing said until counters are filed, there will be no floor test. Meanwhile, Dinakaran’s lawyer Dushyant Dave said, “Anti-defection law was being misused by speaker.”
Dinakaran’s lawyer, alleging that the Tamil Nadu Speaker was influenced by somebody, he questioned the court, “Why no committee was constituted according to laws of Assembly to enquire MLAs.” Lawyer Dave said “MLAs didn't vote against party or resigned. So why the question of anti defection? Speaker depriving right of MLAs.”
The decision of the Speaker of expelling 18 MLAs brings down the strength of the 234-member Assembly to 214 and the magic number for a majority down to 108 from 118. This might enable the Edappadi K Palanisamy government to prove its strength on the floor of the House. As per the last count on September 5, the chief minister’s camp had the support of 114 MLAs as 111 of them turned up at a meeting and three others registered their presence over the phone.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly has 19 seats vacant now, including RK Nagar which is vacant, since the demise of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December 2016.
Speaker Dhanpal issued a statement almost a month after the rebel group MLAs had submitted a letter to acting Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao declaring withdrawal of their support to the CM. The statement read that under Members of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules 1986, the legislators were disqualified.
P Vetrivel and Thanga Tamilselvan, were among the 18 MLAs who were disqualified. The duo are the most vocal supporters of Dinakaran. The general council had struck down the appointment of Dinakaran as Deputy General Secretary and re-induction into the party, last week. A majority of the disqualified legislators are staying at a private resort in Karnataka’s Kodagu district.
The move was expected since the Speaker had sent them notices seeking their reply on why they should not be disqualified for going against the party line on August 24. Dhanpal acted on a plea by chief whip S Rajendran, who sought their disqualification for expressing “no confidence” against the CM. For time being, the move may clear some uncertainty, but the rival Dinakaran camp has vowed to “take the fight right up to the Supreme Court”.
The legal experts were divided, with a majority saying any decision by the Speaker is subject to judicial review. They also referred to the Supreme Court canceling the disqualification of 16 MLAs by the then Karnataka Speaker in October 2010. The “sky-high” powers of the Speaker are limited to his/her actions on the floor of the House, and inside the Assembly.
Dhinakaran accused the Speaker and the government, immediately after the move was made public. He said that both are trying to prove its majority through “unfair means.” He said, “It is always justice that prevails at the end. We will definitely seek legal course and ensure our legislators participate in the voting as and when it happens. They will vote against this government.”
However, Fisheries minister and EPS-OPS loyalist D Jayakumar said the Speaker acted “democratically” and had gone by the rulebook. “I am not supposed to comment on the Speaker’s decision or action. His decision is final and moreover this matter is in court. If I talk about it, it will be sub judice,” he said.
The Speaker’s decision was also hit out by the Opposition, calling it most unfortunate. “The disqualification has been done deliberately to reduce the strength of the House. We will challenge the decision at two places - in the courts and in the people’s court,” Opposition leader MK Stalin said.