The Madras High Court will hear the petitions of the 18 rebel MLAs from AIADMK who were disqualified by Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal for having withdrawn support to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday, September 20.
On Tuesday, Justice M Duraiswamy accepted a request made by senior counsel PR Raman, representing some of the disqualified MLAs, to hear the matter immediately in view of the urgency of the issue, reported the Hindu.
Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao landed in Chennai on Tuesday afternoon to be present for the hearing. On Monday, Rao is said to have met President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the situation with them.
Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal disqualified them under Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, on September 18. They lost their MLA posts and their constituency seats were declared vacant.
The collective strength of legislators in the 234-member House has come down to 215, which also excludes the seat of the deceased former CM Jayalalithaa. This means Palaniswami now needs the support of just 108 MLAs, excluding that of the Speaker, to prove his majority in case there is a floor test.
MLA P Vetrivel of the TTV Dhinakaran faction had filed the petition seeking the court’s intervention in the matter relating to the disqualification.
Another person who will be eagerly waiting for the court’s decision on the matter is DMK chief MK Stalin. The DMK had filed a petition in the court seeking a trust vote in a specially convened assembly session. That case will also be heard on Wednesday.
The court had earlier directed the state government to not conduct a trust vote until Septemeber 20. It had also restrained the Speaker from proceeding against 21 DMK legislators for alleged breach of privilege.
The DMK chief held a party meeting on Tuesday. “Our future course of action will depend on the verdict of the court,” he told reporters after the meeting.