Madras HC bench delivers split verdict on disqualification of 18 MLA, giving big relief to EPS govt.
The Madras high court on Thursday passed a split verdict in the case against disqualification of the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs in Tamil Nadu, giving a big relief to the Edappadi Palaniswami Government.
While the Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upheld the disqualification order passed by Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, Justice M Sundar quashed the speaker’s order.
Now the cases would be referred to a third judge who would pronounce his opinion. The majority view would be considered the judgement.
EPS can now breathe easy, for some time atleast — till the third judge decides. The significance of the verdict is that had it gone either way, the government would have been in trouble. If the disqualification had been upheld, by-elections would been held in 18 constituencies and the DMK winning them would have reduced the EPS government to a minority. On the other hand, if the court had quashed the disqualification, there could have been two scenarios — the MLAs joining hands with the DMK to pull down the government and some of the MLAs supporting the government to ensure all survive.
The speaker passed the disqualification order on September 18 based on the complaint made by the AIADMK party whip S Rajendran against the legislators after they had met the governor and expressed their lack of confidence in chief minister Palaniswami.
Alleging mala fide on the part of the speaker, the 18 MLAs approached the high court. Admitting their plea on September 20, a single judge of the court stayed conduct of floor test and restrained the Election Commission of India from declaring the constituencies as vacant and conducting bypolls.
This status would now continue till the third judge decides the case.