Madras High Court dismisses the petition to disqualify O. Paneerselvam and 10 AIDMK MLAs

The Madras High court had pronounced the verdict on the petition filed by DMK to order Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker to disqualify 11 MLAs of AIDMK including the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O. Paneerselvam. The court had dismissed the plea stating that the court does not have any power to give orders to the speaker of the assembly to disqualify the MLAs.

When the no confidence motion was raised against Chief Minsiter Edapaadi Palanisami on February 19th of 2017, O. Paneerselvam and his 10 MLAs voted against the government. DMK had filed the petition to order the speaker to disqualify these MLAs as the they had violated the rules under Tamil Nadu Legislative Rules of 1986 (disqualification on ground of Defection). These MLAs had supposedly disobeyed the party whip to vote in favour of the government.

The court said that issuing such orders to the speaker of the assembly is a case of judicial overreach. It implies that the court has powers only to judge whether the actions of the speaker is right or not but they can’t give direction the speaker to do some specific actions.

The petitioners had also argued that Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker Dhanapal failed to take action on these 11 MLAs unlike the action taken on the 18 MLAs of TTV Dhinakaran faction, the court refused to encourage the issue any further. The petitioner alleged O. Paneerselvam for disobeying the whip issued by the party but O. Paneerselvam and his MLAs claimed that they had not received any directive from the party.

This is a big setback for DMK party led by M K Stalin, who were under the assumption that the court would order to disqualify 11 MLAs from AIDMK, thus enabling them to topple the present AIDMK government.

The Madras high court had accepted a plea from the DMK to again file an appeal in the Supreme court as this case involves complex interpretations of the constitutional provisions. Will DMK again files an appeal in Supreme court or not will be known in the next few days.

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