New Delhi, June 27:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to transfer the case of 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs from the Madras High Court to the apex court. It also appointed Justice M Satyanarayana as the third judge while refusing to prescribe a time frame to decide the case.  The apex court also pulled up the disqualified MLAs for making “casual” and “irresponsible” statements regarding the delay in delivering judgment, said News18.

On June 14, the Madras High Court had given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of the 18 legislators. A division bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar delivered divergent verdicts on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified under the anti-defection law by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 last year for approaching the Governor and seeking the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami.

The MLAs still stand disqualified from the Assembly till the court’s final verdict in the case. Reports suggest that this would be a setback for TTV Dinakaran, as the MLAs belong to the AIADMK faction led by him.

The split verdit also came as a breather for the EPS government which got more time to consolidate its position. Meanwhile, the strength of the House is reduced to 216 with the suspension and the ruling AIADMK faction remains in the majority with 116 MLAs.

The court ruled that the senior-most judge after the chief justice would be hand-pick a judge who will hear the matter afresh.