Chennai: In a major relief to the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the state Assembly Speaker’s decision disqualifying 18 AIADMK legislators last year that could pave the way for bye-elections in 20 constituencies, including two left vacant by the death of the incumbents. Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, the third judge named by the Supreme Court after a split verdict delivered by a two-judge bench, upheld Speaker P. Dhanapal’s order, saying it was done under the provisions of the anti-defection law and lifted the stay on holding bye-elections to these constituencies.
Before reading out the operative portions of the judgment, Justice Sathyanarayanan observed that he was giving his verdict independently of the arguments presented before him and was not going by the judgment given by the then Chief Justice Indrani Banerjee and Justice M. Sundar. Thursday’s decision of Justice Sathyanarayanan paves way for the bye-elections unless the disqualified MLAs approach the Supreme Court against their disqualification and seek a stay on the bypolls.
The disqualified legislators are with sidelined party leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, now an Independent legislator in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Reacting to the judgment, Dhinakaran told reporters: “We will discuss with the 18 legislators and decide on the future course of action.” He said it was “an experience for us”. “If the 18 disqualified legislators decide to go on appeal against the decision then we will go for an appeal,” Dhinakaran said. The apex court had appointed Sathyanarayanan, replacing Justice Vimala who was originally appointed by the high court as the third judge following a split verdict in the case in June. (IANS)