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The Madras High Court today issued notices to Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker and chief government whip on petitions filed by four disqualified MLAs, belonging to sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran group. The pleas filed by Vetrivel, Rangasamy, Parthiban, Thanga Tamil Selvan, sought disqualification of seven MLAs, including O Panneerselvam (deputy chief minister), who voted against incumbent Chief Minister K Palaniswami during the floor test on February 18. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, directed that these petitions be tagged with similar pleas which were pending adjudication and posted the matter to November 16. Referring to the confidence motion moved by Palaniswami on February 18, the petitioners submitted that 11 MLAs of the O Panneerselvam group voted against the chief minister. They submitted that the Speaker had not taken any action on their representation on March 20, seeking disqualification of the MLAs who voted against Palaniswami. On the other hand, the petitioners said, the Speaker had taken immediate action on the letter given by the government whip on August 24 for disqualifying 18 MLAs of the Dhinakaran group as they had handed over a letter to the governor stating that they did not have confidence in the present chief minister. They argued that voting contrary to the chief government whip's direction attracts disqualification under the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on ground of defection) rules 1986 and provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Citing these rules, the petitioners have sought a direction to the Speaker to initiate proceedings under the Tenth schedule of the constitution against Semmalai, Chinnaraj, Manoharan, Manoranjitham, K Pandiarajan, Nataraj and O Panneerselvam.
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