Just over a week after the Supreme Court ordered Justice M Sathyanarayanan to be the third judge in the 18 AIADMK MLAs disqualification case, the Justice took up the matter and set dates for hearing the final arguments in the case between July 23 and July 27.
According to a report in the Times of India, following the suggestion put forth by senior counsel PS Raman who represents the disqualified MLAs, Justice M Sathyanarayanan said, â€śI will take up the case for final hearing from July 23 to 27.â€ť
The case relates to the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs by Speaker P Dhanapal for having â€śvoluntarily given up their party membershipâ€ť. The MLAs had declared their support for ousted AIADMK Deputy General Secretary, now AMMK leader and RK Nagar MLA TTV Dhinakaran. The EPS-OPS combine sits on a wafer thin majority in the state assembly, having 114 out of 234 MLAs.
The disqualified MLAs had, in August 2017, filed individual petitions with then Governor Vidyasagar Rao expressing lack of confidence in Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and withdrew support to him. Following this, AIADMK Chief Whip S Rajendran filed a complaint with the Speaker claiming that the MLAs were indulging in anti-party activities.
Calling the Speakerâ€™s decision to disqualify them illegal and unauthorised, the MLAs moved the High Court seeking that the Speakerâ€™s decision be quashed and their constitutional rights be restored.
In what came as a relief for the the CM and Deputy CM, the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict in the case on June 14. While CJ Banerjee upheld the disqualification of the 18 AIADMK MLAs, Justice Sundar quashed the disqualification order by the Speaker.
Following this, the disqualified MLAs moved the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of the case to the apex court.
The petitioners also informed the SC about their concerns with Justice S Vimala being appointed as the third judge and had requested the apex court to intervene since they felt they will not get justice if the case is heard by her. The SC, in its response, said that it accepts the concerns of the petitioner and ordered that Madras HC Judge M Sathyanarayanan be appointed as the third judge in the case.