Saturday, February 4, 2023

Panneerselvam cross-voting: SC issues notice after DMK appeal

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Appeal before court says TN Speaker has been sitting on the disqualification issue since 2017.

The Panneerselvam ‘defection’ issue has been prodded into the Supreme Court again, with a petition filed by DMK leader R Sakkrapani. The plea said that the Speaker of the Tami Nadu Assembly has been sitting on a decision whether Panneerselvam and 10 others fell within the ambit of the anti-defection rule and whether they should be disqualified.

This issue has been pending before the Speaker since March 20, 2017.

Today (July 8) the Supreme Court today issued notice to the Speaker.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of plea of the main opposition party and sought responses from the state government and other authorities including the Speaker, P Dhanapal.

The petition has submitted that the inaction of the Speaker in not deciding the issue, despite an order of the Supreme Court of February 2, 2020 asking it to decide the matter of disqualification in accordance with law, is arbitrary and violative of Article 14, Article 19, Article 164(1B), Article 191 and the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner has referred to an earlier order of the Supreme Court, which had disposed of the plea after taking note of the submission that the Speaker has initiated proceedings on the disqualification plea.

The petitioner has claimed that the deliberate action of the Speaker in not deciding on the Disqualification Petition was arbitrary and violative of many laws and wanted the court to issue a directive to the Speaker to declare what his decision is.

The petition has sought disqualification of Panneerselvam and 10 others for having voted against the Palaniswami government when they were in the opposition camp. The petitioner has contented that by voting against the trust motion these MLAs violated the whip issued by the ruling party and hence were liable under the anti-defection law.

-India Legal Bureau

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