Why HC verdict disqualifying 18 TN MLAs is so important to EPS
October 25, 2018  12:36
Thursday's verdict has come as a massive relief for the E Palaniswami government as the restoration of the membership of the rebel MLAs could have set off a realignment in the state's politics with the TTV Dhinakaran camp likely joining hands with the opposition DMK and bringing it dangerously close to losing majority in the 232-strong Tamil Nadu Assembly.

The DMK and its allies the Congress and IUML together have 97 MLAs, and with the 18 rebel AIADMK forging an alliance with them besides independent legislator Dhinakaran himself, their strength would have risen to 116, which is equal to that of the ruling party.

Two assembly seats are vacant, including Thiruvarur, which was represented by DMK patriarch the late M Karunanidhi.

The 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified on September 18 last year under the anti-defection law after they met the governor and expressed loss of confidence in Chief Minister K Palaniswami.

A division bench of the court comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar had delivered a split verdict on June 14. Banerjee had upheld Speaker P Dhanapal's order disqualifying them, while Sundar had passed a dissenting judgement.

The Supreme Court had then appointed Justice M Sathyanarayanan to hear the matter. Justice Sathyanarayanan Thursday said there was no
infirmity in Dhanapal's order which was upheld by Banerjee.

Reacting to the verdict, Dhinakaran, who now heads the AMMK after being sidelined in the AIADMK, said he would consult the MLAs loyal to him before deciding whether to go in appeal in the Supreme Court.

Image: Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam
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