Chennai: The DMK on Tuesday contended in the Madras High Court that Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and ruling AIADMK had committed contempt of court by saying no whip was issued during the vote of confidence sought by Chief Minister K Palaniswamy last year.
Contrary to their stand, an affidavit had been filed before the Election Commission stating that a whip was issued, the DMK claimed during the resumed hearing of its petition seeking disqualification of Panneerselvam, then a rebel leader, and 10 other MLAs for voting against Palaniswami.
The submission was made before the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose.
Senior counsel Amarendra Sharan, appearing for the DMK, said the erstwhile faction led by Panneerselvam had filed an affidavit before the Election Commission stating that a whip was issued by the ruling party to vote in favour of Palaniswami.
Producing a copy of the affidavit, filed during the pendency of the dispute between two factions of the party, he said "it is clearly submitted that a whip was issued to vote in favour of the chief minister's motion of confidence and that the 11 MLAs publicly opposed the candidature of Palaniswamy as chief minister".
The ruling party along with the deputy chief minister had "committed contempt of court by making a contrary submission before this court", he claimed.
He contended that the affidavit proved that they had indeed voted against Palaniswamy's vote of confidence in the assembly on 18 February, 2017 in clear defiance of the directions issued by the party chief whip.
Sharan said so far the counsel for the chief minister had made submissions that the party whip had never issued any direction in connection with the trust vote.
Countering the ruling party's argument that disqualification proceedings were not taken up against Panneerselvam and others in view of the pending dispute before the Election Commission, he said it would not bar the Assembly Speaker from initiating action against the MLAs.
He also charged that the Speaker was deliberately not recording his appearance in this case, though he had been represented in other connected petitions.
"When we allege mala fide against the Speaker, only he can deny the allegation, and not by any third party on his behalf," he submitted.
Sharan further said all the actions and decisions of the Speaker can be judicially reviewed.
To this, the court said they might review the actions of the Speaker, but cannot don the role of a Speaker.
The arguments would continue on Wednesday.
Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 22:11 PM