CHENNAI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Justice M Satyanarayana as the third judge to hear the disqualification plea of 18 AIADMK MLAs while refusing to transfer the case from Madras High Court to apex court.
The vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S K Kaul also pulled up the 17 MLAs — of the 18 disqualified — who had approached the SC for making irresponsible statements regarding the delay in delivering judgment. It asked the petitioners to withdraw remarks made against Justice S Vimala, originally appointed to hear the case, and expunged the remarks.
“We make it clear that this casts no aspersion on the judge who had been appointed to hear the matter...,” the order reads.
A Madras HC bench had delivered a split verdict on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified.
The appeal for transfer of the case came as HC had given no time frame for a decision. During the hearing, the SC also rejected the MLAs’ plea for speedy disposal of the case, saying it was a call the HC had to take.
The 18 MLAs are loyalists of rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran. HC had ruled that senior-most judge after chief justice would name a judge to hear the case afresh and Justice Vimala was picked.
The high court had delivered divergent verdicts on whether the 18 MLAs deserved to be disqualified under the anti-defection law by the speaker for approaching the Governor and seeking the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The court had ruled that the senior-most judge after the high court Chief Justice would now hand-pick a third judge bench, who will then hear the matter afresh.
Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal had on September 18 last year disqualified the 18 MLAs owing allegiance to side-lined party leader T T V Dhinakaran on the grounds that they had tried to pull down the AIADMK government in the state.
Justice M Satyanarayana
Justice M Satyanarayana was born in Dindigul to N Meenakshi Sundaram, a retired District Judge. He studied in Vaishnav College and completed law course in Dr Ambedkar Government Law College in Chennai and enrolled himself as a lawyer with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, in 1983.
He was elevated from the Bar to the High Court bench as an additional judge on April 23, 2008 and he was made a permanent judge in November 2009. He is now adorning the bench at the seventh place, in seniority.
(with PTI inputs)