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DMK plea against TN floor test: Madras HC adjourns hearing to 27 Feb, seeks video evidence of Assembly proceedings

The Madras High Court has adjourned DMK's plea against the floor test in Tamil Nadu Assembly to 27 February. The high court has adjourned the hearing till Monday, seeking the video footage of the Assembly proceedings from the day.

AIADMK leader E Palaniswami had won the trust vote after proving he had the support of 122 MLAs on Saturday, but the proceedings were marred by violence. Besides, many alleged that the Assembly proceedings could be called lopsided as all the DMK MLA's, who had pledged to vote against the AIADMK pick for the chief minister's post, were evicted from the House before the polls were cast.

The First Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan also asked the DMK's counsel, R Shanmugasundaram, in what way the party was aggrieved in the matter.

 DMK plea against TN floor test: Madras HC adjourns hearing to 27 Feb, seeks video evidence of Assembly proceedings

File image of DMK working president MK Stalin. PTI

On being asked what made the DMK to move such a plea when the issue was only between former chief minister O Panneerselvam and the incumbent Edappadi K Palaniswami, the counsel said the DMK is the main opposition in the Assembly. MK Stalin, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, was "stopped" near the War Memorial, a few metres away from
the Assembly complex, and was "made to walk" to the House.

Also all the DMK legislators were "illegally evicted from the House when they sought for a secret ballot", the counsel submitted. NL Rajah, appearing on behalf of the Advocates Forum For Social Justice, which also wanted the trust vote to be declared null and void, contended that all the MLAs of AIADMK, who were kept in a resort before the trust vote, were escorted to the Assembly in buses "which clearly showed that they were kept in illegal detention".

He said that an FIR was pending against Palaniswami in connection with the detention of the MLAs. The bench adjourned the case till February 27 for further hearing after the arguments.

The DMK had moved the Madras High Court on Monday seeking declaration of the confidence vote null and void as it was conducted in "contravention" of the Assembly rules. However, the decision to knock on the doors of judiciary is only a part of the DMK's multi-pronged strategy to line up support against the appointment of Sasikala loyalist as the Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Earlier, DMK leader MK Stalin had also urged the Governor to nullify the assembly proceedings of Saturday when Palaniswami won the confidence vote amid bedlam. The party also announced its decision to move a no confidence motion against assembly Speaker P Dhanapal.

The governor has sought a report on the Assembly proceedings from the Tamil Nadu assembly Secretary

Stalin, leader of the opposition in the assembly, had alleged that that the motion of confidence moved by Palaniswami was adopted in the absence of the entire opposition.

Stalin requested Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to invoke his constitutional powers "to nullify the entire proceedings with a view to protect the spirit of democracy and the constitution".

Stalin said the police was mobilised, giving an impression of a "war-like situation" around the assembly complex and the voting took place amid an "atmosphere of terror".

According to Stalin, the AIADMK legislators belonging to the now jailed VK Sasikala camp were brought to the assembly from a resort "under tight security and they appeared to be under constant threat".

Stalin said Speaker P Dhanapal did not respond to his request for a secret ballot on the confidence motion.

According to the DMK leader, the party legislators had no other way but to stage a peaceful sit-in inside the house.

"The Speaker ordered expulsion of all the members of the DMK, without following the procedure. The police entered the house presumably on instructions given in advance by the Speaker.

"The police and the assembly guards forcibly evicted us from the house and in this process many of us sustained bleeding injuries.

"The other Opposition parties staged a walkout, strongly protesting against the action of the Speaker," Stalin told Rao.

Meanwhile, the DMK cadres have been trying to mobilise public support against Palaniswami's appointment and a hunger protest has been planned to seek public support.

Stalin also said an appointment to meet President Pranab Mukherjee has been sought to brief him about the happenings in Tamil Nadu, adding that the DMK party will hold a series of protests till this AIADMK government was removed.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2017 17:19:50 IST