“We have lost our identity,” say MLAs disqualified by Speaker in court.

18 AIADMK MLAs tried to bring down EPS govt TN Speaker to Madras High Court
news Court Wednesday, October 04, 2017 - 15:49

The Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal told the Madras High Court on Wednesday that the 18 MLAs supporting TTV Dhinakaran had conspired to bring down the state government. His counsel Aryama Sundaram filed a counter-affidavit in the High Court, stating that enough time was given to MLAs to file a reply on why they should not be disqualified. However, only two MLAs Jakkaiyan and Vetrivel had met him. Unsatisfied with their replies, the Speaker disqualified the MLAs.

The High Court was hearing the case filed by 18 AIADMK MLAs challenging their disqualification.

18 MLAs pledging support to sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran had approached the Madras High Court seeking a stay on their disqualification.

Dhinakaran arguments

Appearing on behalf of TTV Dhinakaran, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi called the disqualification as unconstitutional and stated that there were a number of contradictions in the order. Singhvi also urged the court to inquire about former CM turned rebel OPS’s camp’s decision to defy the AIADMK party whip in the February floor test.

Pointing out the contradictions in the Speaker’s earlier order, Dhinakaran’s counsel said, “If the Speaker has taken action against us, why he didn't take action against the OPS camp?”

Singhvi also pointed out that rebel MLAs had clearly stated in their letter to the Tamil Nadu Governor that they had only withdrawn support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and not to the government.

“When we went for the inquiry, there was no one other than the Speaker. The whip or the MLA who gave the complaint against us should have been there, but no one was there. This action was taken in vested interest,” Singhvi told the HC. He observed that the AIADMK whip sought action on the basis of an unnamed, unsigned letter and the Speaker acted relying on this alone.  

When Singhvi argued that they were not shown the complaint copy given by the party whip to the Speaker, Mukul Rohtagi the counsel for the whip pointed out that there is no need to show the complaint copy.

Singhvi also told the court that because of the Speaker’s actions, the MLAs who had been disqualified had lost their normal life. “We lost our identity,” Dhinakaran’s counsel told the court.

Following the arguments, the High Court adjourned the case to October 9. The interim orders regarding stay on floor test in the Assembly and the stay on notifying bypolls will continue.


The High Court had on September 20 extended a stay on the floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

While the court had ordered a stay on notifying bypolls to the 18 seats that had fallen vacant following the disqualification of AIADMK MLAs, it had refused to stay the disqualification.

The 18 MLAs were disqualified by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 and a gazette notification to the same effect declared that the vacancies have arisen due to the Anti-Defection Act.

The MLAs, who were supporting Dhinakaran, were disqualified on the grounds that they had “voluntarily given up their party membership”. They had in August filed individual petitions with Governor Vidyasagar Rao expressing a lack of confidence in Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and withdrawing support to him.   

Their disqualification reduced the strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly from 233 to 215 and, thereby reduced the magic number from 117 to 108.

In the event of a floor test, Edappadi Palaniswami, who has the support the 111 MLAs will be able to claim majority in the House.

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