Chennai: The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition by DMK seeking disqualification of Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and 10 other AIADMK MLAs for having voted against the Palaniswami government last year when they were in the rebel camp.
A bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose dismissed the petition by DMK whip Sakkarapani, citing the pendency of a petition in the Supreme Court on the powers of court to issue directions to the Speaker of an assembly. The petitioner had contended that by voting against the trust motion these MLAs had violated the whip issued by the ruling party and hence attracted disqualification under the anti-defection law.
Panneerselvam and other MLAs, who had then revolted against the AIADMK leadership, voted against the trust vote sought by Chief Minister K Palaniswami on February 18, 2017. Palaniswami eventually won the vote by a margin of 122-11. Panneerselvam had opposed the petition saying the whip was issued only to the 122 MLAs who were staying in a resort then and not to his erstwhile group.
He was made deputy chief minister after the group and the other faction led by Palaniswami merged in August after sidelining jailed leader V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran. The Election Commission had later alloted the party symbol to Palaniswami-Panneerselvam led group, rejecting the claim of the faction led by Dhinakaran.