Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal today said the very act of the 18 rebel MLAs of the AIADMK meeting Governor Banwarilal Purohit challenging their disqualification is in itself a valid ground for disqualification.
He said since the party did not agree to their demand, they met the Governor to dissolve the government.
The speaker's counsel stated this in the Madras High Court, which is hearing the disqualification case related to the 18 MLAs.
"They claim they met the governor only after the intra- party mechanism failed to redress their grievances, which means that they had left the party. The party had said 'no' to their demand, so they met the governor," senior counsel Aryama Sundaram said on behalf of the speaker.
The law is clear that the MLAs cannot approach the Governor for change of chief minister, as the apex court in 2016 had said the legislators cannot approach the governor with such a demand, which means that their act was in contrary to law, Sundaram said.
On the MLAs claim that the speaker had violated the principles of natural justice by denying them permission to cross-examine Chief Minister K Palaniswami and party Whip S Rajendran, Sundaram said that instead of appearing before the speaker and producing evidence in support of their claims, they wanted to prove their case by cross-examining the CM and the whip.
Justice M Sundar in his order has observed that by going to the governor they had approached the 'wrong forum'. "But ignorance of law cannot be excused even in case of a common citizen and here the petitioners are law-makers, I presume they know the law," he added.
Recording the submission, the Supreme Court-appointed third judge Justice M Sathyanarayanan adjourned the plea to August 7.
The high court had delivered a split verdict in the disqualification case.
The matter is now being heard by the third judge.
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