Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed TTV Dhinakaran’s plea to reject an election petition challenging his victory from RK Nagar Assembly constituency.
In his order, Justice G. Jayachandran said there are no material facts to prove voters having been bribed by TTV Dhinakaran during RK Nagar bypoll. The will of the people to return him to Assembly cannot be upset based on vague allegations on social media, he added. ML Ravi, an independent candidate, had challenged his the election from RK Nagar seat which fell vacant following former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.
He alleged that the December 21 bypoll was marred by corrupt practices and was not free and fair. Dhinakaran denied the charges of malpractices in the bypoll and submitted basis of the petition was “fraudulently untenable, misconceived, misdirected and full of falsehood.” The allegations were not substantiated with material evidence and the plea deserves to be dismissed, he said.
The Madras High Court on last Thursday was unable to come to a consensus regarding the disqualification of the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs who joined the TTV Dhinakaran faction.
The bench comprising Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sunder disagreed over the matter. While CJI Banerjee upheld the decision of the Assembly speaker who called for the disqualification of the MLAs in September last year, Sunder quashed the ruling.
Reacting to the verdict, TTV Dhinakaran says the only the impact of the split verdict is that the EPS government will be extended for a few more months. He asserted that all 18 MLAs stand by him solidly. The ruling AIADMK is yet to react.
Now, a third judge will be nominated by High Court judge Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh. Until he makes a decision, no elections for 18 constituencies, and no floor test will be conducted. “We did not expect a split verdict,” said Thanga Tamilchelvan one of the 18 disqualified MLAs and supporter of TTV Dhinakaran. He also said all 18 MLAs are standing united and won’t shift loyalties.
Earlier, both Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran conducted meetings. While Palaniswami met his ministers, Dhinakaran was with the rebel MLAs.
He added that if the order is in our favour, the MLAs will go straight to the assembly to begin their work. “No other MLAs would have suffered like us as we were prevented from doing our duties for the last 10 months.”
However, with things going back to square one, it will be only a matter of time before we know the situation regarding the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Currently, the total strength of the House has come down to 216 from 234 following the disqualification of the 18 MLAs. The ruling AIADMK has 116 members while DMK (89) along with Congress (8) and lone IUML member has 98 members in the house of 216. Dhinakaran is an independent MLA.
Out of the AIADMK’S 116 MLAs, Thamimun Ansari, Thaniarasu and Karunas who won the election on the AIADMK symbol had not clearly stated their stand.