A two-judge bench of the Madras High Court Thursday delivered a split verdict after hearing the case against the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs for “anti-party activities”. The matter will now be heard by a third judge. The court has ordered that no floor test or bypolls can be conducted till its final order.
The court was hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Speaker P Dhanapal’s decision last September to disqualify the MLAs after they withdrew support to the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami and his deputy, O Panneerselvam. The MLAs are backing independent MLA Dinakaran, who was sacked from AIADMK.
The AIADMK has 116 MLAs in the 234-seat House (including the Speaker). The Opposition has a strength of 98, including 89 MLAs of DMK, eight of Congress and one of the IUML. The disqualification of the MLAs has reduced the strength of the House to 216 members.