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Disqualification of AIADMK MLAs: Madras High Court passes split verdict

Chennai: Setting the suspense in motion for more than 5 months, the Madras High Court on Thursday passed a split verdict in the case against the disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs in Tamil Nadu.

While the Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upheld the disqualification order passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, Justice M Sundar quashed the speaker’s order. Due to this, now the case would be referred to a third judge who would pronounce his opinion. The majority view would be considered the final judgement.

The verdict could have a bearing on the stability of the Tamil Nadu government led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy, who had assumed office in February 2017 with the backing of Dhinakaran but later turned against him.

Earlier, Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18, 2017, disqualified 18 AIADMK MLAs on the grounds of Anti-Defection Act and a gazette notification was issued declaring vacancies to their seats.

The ruling AIADMK is however confident that its government would not face any immediate threat to its survival. They point out that in the event of a confidence vote, the 18 MLAs would be bound by the Whip and cannot afford to vote against the government.

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