In what has come as relief for the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has ruled in favour of the 11 AIADMK MLAs including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
The Madras High Court on Friday rejected a plea to disqualify OPS and his team of MLAs for having voted against the Edappadi Palaniswami-led government during a motion of confidence on Feb 18, 2017
The Madras High Court was giving its final judgement in the case filed by the DMK's whip R Sakkarapani seeking disqualification of O Panneerselvam and 10 other MLAs, who voted against the AIADMK whipâ€™s orders in the 2017 floor test.
In February 2017, OPS resigned from the post of CM and went on to rebel against then AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala, who was later jailed following her conviction in the Disproportionate Assets case. Following her conviction by the Supreme Court, Sasikala had named Edappadi Palaniswami as the Chief Minister.
On February 18, 2017, a no confidence motion was moved against CM Edappadi Palaniswami.
With the DMK being evicted from the Assembly before the vote and other opposition parties walking out, EPS won the vote against him with a comfortable 122: 11 margin. This meant that OPS and 10 of his supporting MLAs had voted against their own party.
Stating that OPS and his team's actions were against the laws mandated under Tamil Nadu Legislative(Disqualification on ground of Defection) Rules of 1986, the DMK petitioned the Madras High Court for their disqualification.
Rejecting the premise of the charges, OPS and his MLAs have maintained that that there was no whip to issue directions. In February this year, the DMK countered these claims by providing the court with a copy of the affidavit filed by OPS to the Election Commission of India where he had reportedly stated that a whip had indeed been issued instructions telling the party to vote in favour of EPS.