The Supreme Court on Friday disposed of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s petition for the disqualification of 11 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLAs for voting against the government led by their party during a February 2017 trust vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, PTI reported.
A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant announced its decision after the state government said Speaker P Dhanapal had initiated action on the basis of the Opposition party’s plea. The DMK had accused Dhanapal of inaction. The 11 legislators, including current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, rebelled against the AIADMK for appointing former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala the party general secretary. The two factions – one led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and the other by Panneerselvam – resolved their differences and merged in August 2017.
Earlier this month, the court said the three-year delay in the case was unnecessary. However, it clarified that it was not going to intervene in the Speaker’s jurisdiction. “Of course, there is nothing we can do about the Speaker deciding to do it [take cognisance of the anti-defection pleas] or not,” Bobde said. “But we must take cognisance if he keeps them pending... Why did you not take cognisance for three years?”
In April 2018, the Madras High Court had dismissed the DMK’s petition to disqualify the legislators. The party approached the Supreme Court the following month.