The Madras High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal, asking him why no action had been taken against the 12 MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, for defying the party whip ahead of the Assembly trust vote in February.

The Speaker has till October 20 to respond to the notice.

On September 25, the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had approached the Madras High Court and sought to have Panneerselvam and the other MLAs disqualified for voting against Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami during the floor test on February 18.

DMK had alleged that Panneerselvam and his faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had violated the Tamil Nadu Legislative (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986. The party had also pointed out that the Speaker had disqualified 18 AIADMK legislators who had supported ousted leader TTV Dinakaran, instead of taking action against Panneerselvam and his camp.

On September 12, the Madras High Court had agreed to hear a plea by DMK Working President MK Stalin, seeking to have a floor test in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, on October 10.