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SC to hear on plea of 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on June 27 a plea filed by 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs seeking transfer of their case from the Madras High Court to the apex court after the split verdict by the high court.

A vacation bench of justices Arun Mishra and S K Kaul said it will hear the plea day after tomorrow.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the 18 MLAs, said it is a serious matter which requires urgent hearing as the high court has given a split verdict on June 14 and the third judge is scheduled to hear the matter afresh.

He alleged that people knew through WhatsApp about the third judge who will be hearing the case after the split verdict.

The court said, “We don’t go by WhatsApp messages and the matter will be heard on June 27”.

The Madras High Court had on June 14 given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 MLAs loyal to sidelined party leader T T V Dhinakaran, a ruling that maintained status quo in the corridors of power in Tamil Nadu.

A division bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar delivered divergent verdicts on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified under the anti-defection law by Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18 last year for approaching the Governor and seeking the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami.

The court ruled that the senior-most judge after the chief justice would now hand-pick a judge who will hear the matter afresh.

In her 200-page order, the chief justice had upheld the Speaker’s decision, saying, “In my opinion, the view taken by the Speaker is a possible, if not plausible view, and I am unable to hold that the said decision is any way unreasonable, irrational or perverse.”

Justice Sundar, in his 135-page order, struck a dissenting note, insisting that Dhanapal’s order “deserved to be set aside on grounds of perversity, non-compliance with principles of natural justice, mala fides and violation of the constitutional mandate”.

The chief justice said status quo would continue till the third judge delivered the verdict on the petitions.

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