Itâ€™s official: The MLAs supporting TTV Dhinakaran have been disqualified from the Tamil Nadu Assembly. According to a release from the TN Secretariat, the 18 AIADMK MLAs who were supporting the ousted leader after the EPS-OPS factions merged, were disqualified as per Schedule 10 of the Constitution, and under the TN MLAs (Disqualification due to Defection), 1986.
The 18 MLAs, Thangatamizhchelvan (Andipatti), R Murugan (Aroor), Mariappan Kennedy (Manamadurai), Kathirgamu (Periyakulam), C Jayanthi Padmanabhan (Gudiyatham), P Pazhaniyappan (Papireddypatti), V Senthil Balaji (Aravakurichi), Dr S Muthiah (Paramakudi), P Vetrivel (Peramboor), NG Parthiban (Sholingar), M Kothandapani (Tiruporur), TA Ezhumalai (Poonamallee), M Rangasamy (Thanjavur), R Thangadurai (Nilakottai), R Balasubramani (Ambur), Edhirkottai SG Subramanian (Sathur), R Kandaraj (Ottapidaram), and K Uma Maheshwari (Vilathikulam) were disqualified according to a release from the Secretariat.
Tamil Nadu Speaker, Dhanapal, had issued three notices to the MLAs after the AIADMK chief whip, Rajendran, had sought their disqualification for meeting the state Governor and withdrawing support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.
According to the Secretariat release, the MLAs were therefore disqualified under Schedule 10 of the Constitution as of September 18.
Schedule 10 of the Indian Constitution, also known as the anti-defection law, comes into force if less than one third of the members of a party in an Assembly or House of Parliament vote against the party line.
Whether the disqualification will stand in a court of law is debatable, considering that the MLAs have only withdrawn support from the Chief Minister and not the party or the government.
TTV Dhinakaran and his supporters have been demanding a floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, and demanding that Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
The DMK, too, has been demanding that the Chief Minister must prove that he has the confidence of the Assembly. DMK working president Stalin had approached the Madras High Court to force the Speaker to conduct a floor test. The court on September 14 had said that a floor test cannot be conducted until September 20 - which is two days away.
If the Dhinakaran faction and the DMK voted against EPS, the numbers game would be very close for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
In the Madras High Court, the AG informed the HC that action will be taken against the 19 MLAs, who had filed a petition with Governor Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. While the AG refused to give an assurance to the court, he said that the process of disqualification had already been initiated against the concerned MLAs.
The AG also went on to inform the court that the Speaker is the ultimate authority in the Assembly and the court cannot interfere into proceedings.
Speaker P Dhanapal had issued notices to the legislators and asked them to appear before him on Thursday. However, the MLAs, who are presently lodged at a resort in Coorg, failed to appear before the Speaker.