The Supreme Court today said the Madras High Court would decide on the pleas seeking disqualification of 11 AIADMK MLAs including former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had voted against the E K Palaniswami government in the February trust vote. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud disposed of two transfer petitions filed by Thiru Semmalai, seeking transfer of the pleas from the Madras High Court to the apex court. Lawyer Vivek Singh, appearing for P Vetrivel who belonged to T T V Dhinakaran and Sasikala group, said the prayer seeking a direction to the assembly Speaker to decide the disqualification matter within a time-frame has been amended before the High Court. Now, the amended plea seeks indulgence of the High Court to itself decide the disqualification aspect of Paneerselvam, the incumbent Deputy Chief Minister, and other 10 MLAs who had then voted against the Palaniswami government in the trust vote on the floor of the House, the lawyer said. The transfer petitions were filed in the apex court raising the issue whether the High Court can direct the Speaker to decide the disqualification, as a similar issue was pending adjudication before a larger bench of the top court, Singh said. The apex court considered the submission and disposed of the transfer pleas, saying as the prayer seeking a direction to the Speaker stood amended, the high court would now deal with the issue. Earlier, the apex court had agreed to hear the transfer pleas on disqualification of the then rebel 11 AIADMK MLAs. Earlier, DMK and others had approached the Madras High Court seeking direction to the Speaker to disqualify the 11 AIADMK MLAs, including Panneerselvam, under the anti-defection law for allegedly voting against Chief Minister K Palaniswami government. In its plea before the high court, it was alleged that the Speaker was not taking action against these 11 MLAs under the anti-defection law. On February 18, jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala loyalist E K Palaniswami had won an easy trust vote 122-11, helped by the eviction of main opposition DMK and a walkout by its allies, amid stormy scenes during which mikes were uprooted, chairs toppled and sheets of papers torn and hurled around.
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