The OPS faction had challenged the February 18 trust vote won by EPS on grounds that it was illegal and violated several provisions in Constitution.

SC to examine validity of Tamil Nadu trust vote won by Edappadi Palaniswami
news Law Wednesday, July 05, 2017 - 12:32

The Supreme Court will examine the validity of February 18 trust vote won by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on the floor of the state Assembly.

The apex court has posted the matter for July 11. The top court on Wednesday ordered Advocate General KK Venugopal to also be present during the hearing.

Former Tamil Nadu Minister and leader in the O Panneerselvam faction, Mafoi Pandiarajan, had moved the apex court in March seeking to quash the trust vote won by Palaniswami.

In a writ petition filed on March 10, Mafoi Pandiarajan termed the confidence motion moved and won by EPS as “illegal, capricious, discriminatory and violative of the principle of ‘secrecy’, which is the essence of democracy, free and fair elections, and the voter’s freedom of expression, which constitutes one of the basic features of our Constitution”, reported The Hindu.

The petition had sought the apex court to direct Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal to conduct a fresh trust vote through secret ballot and in the presence of independent and impartial observers nominated by the SC.

While hearing the writ petition on Wednesday, Justice Dipak Mishra asked if there was any provision for a secret ballot in a vote of confidence motion, and directed Advocate General KK Venugopal to be present when the matter comes up in court on July 11.

The OPS faction had earlier stated that they have raised 26 violations regarding the rules and rights bestowed by the Constitution.

On February 18, after the confidence motion was moved, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal had refused to allow for a secret ballot despite repeated requests from the rebel camp and the opposition.

In addition to this, DMK MLAs had been evicted from the Assembly for unruly behaviour. Following this, in the vote that was held, Edappadi Palaniswami got the backing of 122 MLAs while only 11 MLAs, from the Panneerselvam camp, voted against him. 

The matter comes up in the Supreme Court weeks after an expose by Moon TV and Times Now suggested that money was paid to sway votes in favour of the Palaniswami faction in the February 18 trust vote. Following the sting operation, the Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao ordered an inquiry into the matter.