Chennai, Feb 27 (PTI) The DMK today submitted in the Madras High Court that the court has to interfere in a plea seeking disqualification of Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and 10 other AIADMK MLAs as the assembly speaker “failed” to act according to the Constitution. Also Read - COVID-19 Lockdown: Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Migrant Workers on Monday
DMK whip Sakkarapani has filed the petition seeking disqualification of Panneerselvam, then a rebel leader, and others for voting against Chief Minister K Palaniswami during a trust vote last year. Also Read - Coronavirus: Tamil Nadu Man, in Home Quarantine, Bites Elderly Woman to Death
Senior counsel of the DMK Kapil Sibal said the speaker, who has to act as the leader of the House, is behaving like a member of a political party. Also Read - Amid Lockdown, Supreme Court Grants Rs 4 Lakh to Woman Rendered Homeless
The OPS group, which voted against Palaniswami, has to be declared as disqualified, Sibal submitted.
As the speaker “failed” to act according to the Constitution, the court has to interfere and act accordingly in connection with the disqualification of O Panneerselvam and the other 10 MLAs who voted against Palaniswami when the confidence vote was taken up, he submitted.
In addition to the DMK, four disqualified MLAs loyal to rebel leader T T V Dhinakaran have also moved the court aggrieved over the speaker not acting on their plea filed earlier for action against Panneerselvam and others.
The four had filed the petition before the speaker before he disqualified 18 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs, including them.
Arguing on behalf of the four disqualified MLAs, senior counsel PS Raman submitted that the order of the whip was not confined to some MLAs but to all legislators of the party concerned.
There is a Supreme Court judgement that those who defy the order of the whip can be disqualified and the high court has the jurisdiction to pass orders of disqualification, the counsel submitted.
The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose then posted the matter to March 5 for filing of written arguments.
Senior counsel for Panneerselvam and 10 other MLAs had earlier submitted that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the plea seeking their disqualification.
Panneerselvam has submitted that the AIADMK had issued a whip for the trust vote only to the 122 MLAs who were staying in a resort then and not to his erstwhile group.
Following the rebellion by Panneerselvam, the AIADMK had kept its 122 MLAs at the resort near here, and they were brought to the assembly for the trust vote which was eventually won by Palaniswami by a margin of 122-11.
The groups led by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami later merged and the Election Commission allotted the party symbol to them, ignoring the claim of the faction led by Dhinakaran. PTI COR BN ZMN ZMN
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.