HC says no floor test till Sept 20, speaker to act against rebel MLAs

HC says no floor test till Sept 20, speaker to act against rebel MLAs

The Madras high court on Thursday stayed till Wednesday (September 20) the conduct of a floor test in the Tamil Nadu assembly to prove the majority of the Edappadi K Palaniswami government.

Justice M. Duraiswamy passed the interim order after Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, representing M.K. Stalin, apprehended that in the meantime the “minority Government could be converted into a majority” by disqualifying 19 dissident AIADMK MLAs and holding the trust vote immediately.

A petition by MLA P Vetrivel, a staunch loyalist of ousted AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, was also heard along with that of Stalin.

Citing pending disqualification proceedings against 19 MLAs loyal to Dhinkaran in view of their rebellion against Palaniswami, the petitioners submitted that they apprehended the Speaker might disqualify the legislators. This may go in favour of the chief minister in case of a floor test to prove his majority, they contended.

Justice M Duraiswamy passed the order as the speaker informed the court that he was not in a position to tell whether he would pass orders in the disqualification proceedings against 19 rebel AIADMK MLAs before a floor test is conducted.

After the whip sought disqualification of the 19 MLAs under the anti-defection law, the Speaker had issued notices to them seeking their response, the time limit for which ended on Thursday.