Madras, June 14: The Madras High Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs who were supporting expelled party leader TTV Dinakaran. The 18 MLAs continue to remain disqualified after the split verdict delivered by the division bench of justices comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar today. The case has now been referred to a larger bench, therefore, providing interim relief to the E Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu.
According to reports, while the Chief Justice of Madras High Court upheld the disqualification of 18 MLAs, the second judge disagreed. The 18 MLAs of the AIADMK were disqualified in September last year for writing to then Governor C Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing support to Palaniswami and asking for his replacement. They had made it clear that they are not withdrawing support to the AIADMK government. The Speaker had acted on the request of the AIADMK, which argued in the assembly that the rebels had tried to create an imbalance in the state government and, therefore, had violated the anti-defection law.
For the ruling AIADMK government to survive in the state, it needs the magic number of 117 (which excludes the Speaker) to prove its majority. If the larger bench of court overturns the disqualification of 18 MLAs, it can destabilise the current government that has only 114 MLAs (including the Speaker) loyal to it. Furthermore, eighteen constituencies will go to bypolls within six months, which will prove to be the real test for not just the AIADMK but also the DMK that has 98 seats with its allies.