The two-judge bench of Madras High Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict in 18 AIADMK MLAs disqualification case. The matter will now be heard by a third judge. The High Court ordered that no trust vote or bypoll can be conducted till a third judge pronounce its final verdict.
The 18 lawmakers of AIADMK were disqualified in September 2017 by Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker P Dhanapal under the anti-defection law after they withdrew their support from the ruling K Palanaswamy government and joined hands with TTV Dinakaran just before trust vote.
The MLAs then moved the Madras High Court seeking the speaker order to disqualify them be quashed and they should be allowed to remain as lawmakers.
A High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar had reserved its order during its last hearing on January 23.
While the Chief Justice Banerjee upheld Tamil Nadu speaker's decision to disqualify the 18 MLAs who had gone to TTV Dinkaran fold, Justice Sunder disagreed with their disqualification.
The decision is considered as a setback to Dinakaran as the MLAs were from his faction and the court has also made it clear that floor test cannot be conducted until the final order by a third judge comes.
The ruling AIADMK has a strength of 116 MLAs excluding the Speaker while the Opposition DMK has 89 MLAs, its allies Congress 8 and the IUML one in the 234 member Tamil Nadu Assembly.