New Delhi: In a big relief to the K Palaniswami government, the Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the June 14 order of disqualifying 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan heard the pleas of the rival parties after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict on June 14.
"All the material that was available at the time of passing of the order by the Speaker alone has been taken into consideration and this court cannot go into the subsequent events," he observed while upholding their disqualification
Earlier on June 14, the first bench of the court passed a split verdict, with the then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upholding the decision of the Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal in disqualifying the MLAs under the anti-defection law.
The second judge, Justice M Sundar differed and set aside the disqualification order the Speaker on the grounds of non-compliance with principles of natural justice and violation of constitutional mandate.
Later, the senior-most judge of the high court, Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh appointed Justice S Vimala as the third judge to decide the case. Dissatisfied over the choice of judge, one among the disqualified legislators approached the Supreme Court seeking to transfer the disqualification case to itself.
Finally, the vacation bench of the Supreme Court nominated Justice Sathyanarayanan as the third judge.
The 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified on September 18 last year under the anti-defection law after they met the governor and expressed loss of confidence in Chief Minister Palaniswami.
This followed the merger of the Palaniswami and Panneerselvam factions that were formed after the death of J Jayalalithaa and ascendency of VK Sasikala as the supremo in the AIADMK.
Speaker P Dhanapal had disqualified the 18 lawmakers for “voluntarily giving up their memberships in the party” against which the Dhinakaran faction had fought a long-drawn legal battle.
Following her imprisonment in the disqualification case, Sasikala had installed her nephew TTV Dinakaran as the party’s Deputy General Secretary, but his relegation from the party came about in the course of the merger of the two factions.
Dinakaran had started his own political outfit The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam following his victory in the RK Nagar by election, which also saw the first lawmaker from the VK Sasikala family.