AIADMK MLAs Disqualification: DMK seeks urgent hearing

DMK seeks urgent hearing on plea for disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs

The petitioner had sought disqualification of Panneerselvam and 10 others for having voted against the K Palaniswami government last year when they were in the rebel camp

A view of Supreme Court in New Delhi, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (PTI Photo)

DMK moved the Supreme Court Friday seeking urgent hearing of its plea for disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who voted against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in a confidence motion in 2017.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it will consider listing the matter for urgent hearing.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for DMK, sought urgent listing of the plea and referred to the recent apex court verdict in the Manipur minister case in which the Speaker has been directed to decide on disqualification of Manipur Forest Minister Th Shyamkumar in four weeks.

The apex court had on Tuesday said Parliament should "rethink" whether the Speaker of a House should continue to have powers to disqualify lawmakers as such a functionary "belongs to a particular political party".

During the last hearing in the AIADMK MLAs' disqualification case however, it wondered as to why courts should venture into the question of disqualification of MLAs for defection when the Constitution has conferred this power to the Assembly speaker.

The Madras High Court had in April 2018 dismissed DMK’s plea seeking to disqualify the MLAs.

The high court had rejected the petition citing pendency of a plea in the apex court on the powers of a court to issue directions to the Speaker of a state Assembly.

The petitioner had contended in the high court that by voting against the trust motion, these MLAs had violated the whip issued by ruling party and hence attracted disqualification under the anti-defection law.