Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal justifies invoking anti-defection law to disqualify 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal justified his action of disqualifying 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs when their pleas challenging their disqualification was taken up by the Madras High Court.

The decision was taken only because the legislators approached the governor before exhausting available intra-party mechanisms for redressal of grievances, senior counsel for the speaker Aryama Sundaram submitted.

File image of P Dhanapal. Courtesy: Twitter/@PDhanapaloffcl

File image of P Dhanapal. Courtesy: Twitter/@PDhanapaloffcl

Sundaram made the submissions before the first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar. On alleged inaction against O Panneerselvam (currently the deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu) and 10 MLAs who voted against Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy's motion of confidence on 18 February, the counsel said, the speaker could not act upon the complaint against them "in view of an interim order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) dated 22 March".

"The order prevented any action against the MLAs. Hence no bias/malafides/perversity can be alleged on part of the speaker in waiting to act before ECI came to its conclusion regarding which group is the real AIADMK," he said.

Justifying invoking of the anti-defection law against the 18 MLAs, the speaker said that the natural consequence of their demand to call for a floor test is the fall of the government.

The counsel claimed that the issue was an intra-party dispute and submitted that the governor of the state cannot interfere in such issues. He also said the representations made to the governor by the 18 disqualified MLAs were based on a letter issued by dissident leader TTV Dhinakaran.

The bench recorded the submission and posted the case to 18 December for further hearing.

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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2017 09:07:14 IST

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