The Supreme Court on Monday 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.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the MLAs, said it was a serious matter that required an urgent hearing as the High Court had given a split verdict on June 14 and the third judge was scheduled to hear the matter afresh.
He alleged that people knew through WhatsApp about the third judge.
A vacation Bench of justices Arun Mishra and S.K. Kaul said, “we don’t go by WhatsApp messages and the matter will be heard on June 27”.
On June 14, the High Court gave the split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of the 18 MLAs loyal to sidelined party leader T.T.V Dhinakaran, a ruling that maintained the status quo in the corridors of power in Tamil Nadu.
A Division Bench of the 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 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 to hear the matter afresh.
In her 200-page order, the Chief Justice 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 insisted that Mr. 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.