High Court to hear petition against disqualification of 18 MLAs

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami

The court will hear a petition filed by the 18 rebel MLAs on Wednesday against the Speaker's move to disqualify them for withdrawing support to the Palaniswami government.

The disqualification of dissident MLAs, who had revolted against Chief Minister K. Palaniswami last month, was taken under anti-defection rules.

The Madras High Court, while passing interim orders on a plea by the DMK, had said that no floor test can be conducted in the Tamil Nadu assembly till Wednesday i.e., September 20.

The Speaker had acted quickly after the rebel MLAs met Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to convey that they have no confidence in Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami, accusing him of being corrupt.

Amidst the political developments, Governor arrived here on Tuesday after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

Initially only 8 MLAs approached the court but later reportedly the other 10 also filed their petitions. The DMK has 89 members, the Congress has eight MLAs and the IUML has one member. "He told us he would hold discussions with us once again after the court passed its order", a senior DMK MLA, who participated in the meeting, told TOI.

Separately, the major opposition party DMK yesterday held a meeting of its MLAs at the party headquarters and chose to take legal and democratic actions to bring down the AIADMK government.

He said, "It is always justice that prevails at the end".

Immediately after the move was made public, Dhinakaran accused the Speaker and the government of trying to prove its majority through "unfair means". Dinakaran has the support of 21 MLAs including 18 disqualified legislators. "We will challenge the decision at two places - in the courts and in the people's court", Opposition leader MK Stalin said.

An official of the Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretariat points out that Mr. Dhanapal, in his disqualification order, had referred to the SC's judgment "adequately" and "distinguished his action" from what Mr. Bopaiah did in 2010.

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