The Madras High Court on Friday rejected a petition seeking the disqualification of 11 MLAs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for voting against the party’s government during a trust vote in the Assembly in February 2017, ANI reported.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam whip, R Sakkrapani, had approached the court in September claiming the MLAs had violated the Tamil Nadu Legislative (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986.

The 11 MLAs include former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against the party in 2017 against the decision to make VK Sasikala its general secretary. The two factions – one led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and the other by Panneerselvam – merged in August, after which Panneerselvam became the deputy chief minister.

After another leader, TTV Dinakaran, rebelled against the party in September, Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualified 18 MLAs who had supported him. Sakkrapani then moved court, alleging that the Speaker had indulged in partisan behaviour.

The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose said the court cannot interfere in the powers of the Assembly speaker, The Times of India reported.