CHENNAI: Justifying the strong action against the 18 rebel MLAs who withdrew support to Chief Minister Palaniswami, Speaker P Dhanapal said in his order that with their letter to the Governor, these members have voluntarily given up their membership in the party. Dhanapal also charged them of siding with Leader of Opposition M K Stalin, and noted that they failed to attend the AIADMK general council meeting. However, he dismissed the charge against S T K Jakkaiyan, one of the MLAs who had offered support to Dhinakaran, but later retracted. Explaining this different treatment, the Speaker said voluntarily given up membership was not synonymous with resignation.
“A person may voluntarily give up his membership of a political party even though he has not tendered his resignation from the membership of that party. Even in the absence of a formal resignation from membership an inference can be drawn from the conduct of a member that he has voluntarily given up his membership of the political party to which he belongs,” Dhanapal added. Rejecting the contention that disqualification under the anti-defection law was not applicable for acts that happen outside the Assembly, Dhanapal added: “Nowhere in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution or the defection rules it has been mentioned that the cause of action for instituting the proceedings before me under Tenth Schedule should have occurred or commenced within the jurisdiction of the Assembly or the House.
The 10th Schedule provides two instances for invoking anti-defection proceedings, he said. “One being after the vote and another being voluntarily giving up the membership, which can happen due to any incident outside the House as well. I hold that the jurisdiction to entertain the petition on the facts and to adjudicate the same. Under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, it is only the Speaker who has the power and jurisdiction to hear a complaint. In such circumstances, the doctrine of necessity would apply.”
Charging the MLAs of lying, Dhanapal said their interim reply on August 30 said they were out of station from Puducherry. “But in reality, they were present in Puducherry. So, all respondents had made false submissions.”