In a major relief to the E K Palaniswami-led government, the Madras High Court Thursday upheld the Tamil Nadu Speaker’s decision to disqualify the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs. The rebels, supporting the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction, were disqualified by P Dhanapal, the Speaker of the House, under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution (known as the anti-defection law) after the former expressed lack of confidence in Chief Minister E Palaniswami.
The rebels later moved a petition in the HC challenging the Speaker’s decision following which the court restrained the Election Commission from declaring their seats vacant. Welcoming the court’s verdict today, the AIADMK, in a tweet, said it is a “correct lesson for the traitors and that democracy has won”.
In the 234-member Assembly, two seats are vacant, including that of late DMK chief M Karunanidhi. The current strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly is 216. While AIADMK has 116 MLAs, including the Speaker, the Opposition has 98 MLAs.