Madras High Court disqualifies 18 AIADMK MLAs

In a big relief to the E Palaniswami government, the Madras High Court on Thursday disqualified 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs, whose membership was cancelled by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker in September last year under anti-defection law after they met the Governor and expressed loss of confidence in Chief Minister E Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu. 

The 18 lawmakers, who are loyal to ousted party leader VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, will no longer be members of legislative assembly and by-elections will be held for their seats.

Speaker P Dhanapal had disqualified the MLAs under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution (known as the anti-defection law) after the former expressed for voluntarily withdrawing support to the Chief Minister E Palaniswami.

Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami welcomed the Madras High Court verdict.

AIADMK spokesperson expressed joy over the verdict and said that the E Palaniswami government has now proved its stability.

Reacting to the verdict, Dhinakaran, who now heads the AMMK after being sidelined in the AIADMK, told reporters that It is not a setback for them. This is an experience and they will face the situation. He further said he would consult the MLAs loyal to him before deciding whether to go for appeal in the Supreme Court.

By-elections will be held for a total of 20 seats, including two which are vacant since the death of members.

With 20 vacant seats, the Tamil Nadu assembly’s strength is down from 234 to 214. The ruling party, with 116 members, is well above the half-way mark of 107.