The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday appeals filed by 18 ousted Dinakaran camp MLAs, seeking transfer of the “disqualification case” pending before a third judge in the Madras high court following a split verdict on their plea challenging the Speaker’s decision.
A vacation Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjay Kishan Kaul posted the matter for hearing on July 27 on a “mention” made by senior counsel Vikas Singh and counsel Amit Anand Tiwari seeking early listing of the appeals. Mr. Singh submitted that the matter has been posted for hearing before a third judge —Justice Mrs S. Vimala and it was known to them through whatsapp message. Justice Mishra while agreeing to hear the matter observed, “We won’t go by whatsapp messages.”
In their petitions P. Vetrivel and 16 others (one disqualified MLA Thanga Tamil Selvan did not prefer an appeal) said the present Transfer Petition arising out of an order passed by the Tamil nadu Speaker on 18.9.2017 disqualifying 18 MLAs raised several questions of general public importance and some of them are also pending before this Court for consideration.
They alleged that the Speaker had acted malafidely while passing an order on September 18, 2017 while at the same he had not even issued notice on the disqualification petition filed against 11 other MLAs of O. Panneerselvam camp in March 2017, when they voted against the motion of confidence taken out by chief minister E. Palanisamy.
Furthermore, the petitioners have a reasonable apprehension of not having fair hearing in the state of Tamil because of the fact the respondents are very influential and are the incumbent chief minister and one of the affected party is the deputy chief minister.
In any event, even if the matter is finally decided in the high court, it will be subjected to further scrutiny by this court at the behest of the aggrieved party. Hence, by transferring the writ petition and finally deciding the issues involved this Court can put to rest all the issues.
Petitioners submitted that it is a fit case for transfer of the petition, especially in view of the delay that is caused in deciding the present matter for over 10 months, due to which constituencies of these MLAs has been suffering for almost an year.
This has also to be seen that when the Constitutional mandate is that if a seat falls vacant, Election Commission has to conduct election within a period of 6 months, the reason being that a constituency cannot be left without an elected representative for so long. Projects are stuck for lack of approval in these constituencies.
On June 14 the division bench of the High Court has given a split verdict and the senior most Judge, Justice H G Ramesh has nominated Justice S. Vimala for hearing of the writ petition. Already there has been a delay of 10 months in this case and each passing day is creating an impasse in the State. Alleging bias against Justice Vimala, the petitioners said the daughter in law of the Third Judge has recently been appointed as Government Advocate criminal side of the same High Court and this is a valid ground for transfer in the interest of justice and fair hearing.