New Delhi: Refusing to transfer the case of 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs from the Madras High Court to the apex court, Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Justice M Satyanarayana as the third judge while declining to prescribe a time frame to decide the case.
The Madras High Court had on June 14 given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of the 18 legislators.
The apex court also pulled up disqualified MLAs for making "casual" and "irresponsible" statements regarding the delay in delivering judgment.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the 18 MLAs, had said a day earlier that it is a serious matter which requires urgent hearing as the high court has given a split verdict on June 14 and the third judge is scheduled to hear the matter afresh.
He alleged that people knew through WhatsApp about the third judge who will be hearing the case after the split verdict.
The court had said, "We don't go by WhatsApp messages and the matter will be heard on June 27".
The Madras High Court had on June 14 given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 MLAs loyal to sidelined party leader T T V Dhinakaran, a ruling that maintained status quo in the corridors of power in Tamil Nadu.
A division bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar delivered divergent verdicts on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified under the anti-defection law by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 last year for approaching the Governor and seeking the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The court ruled that the senior-most judge after the chief justice would now hand-pick a judge who will hear the matter afresh.