The Madras high court on Monday issued notices to Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, and the speaker and secretary of the Tamil Nadu assembly, on a petition filed by the main opposition party seeking to have a trust vote won by Palaniswami declared “null and void".
The court also directed the Tamil Nadu assembly secretary to produce a video recording of the entire proceedings on 18 February—the day the house adopted a confidence vote in favour of Palaniswami after unruly scenes during which mikes were uprooted, chairs toppled and sheets of papers torn.
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Palaniswami won the vote by a 122-11 margin in the 234-member assembly after the eviction of MLAs belonging to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party in the assembly.
The DMK has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras high court seeking a ruling that the confidence vote was not valid. The court had on 22 February directed the DMK to produce video clippings or any other recordings to substantiate its claim that the trust vote won by Palaniswami was held in contravention of the assembly rules.
In the petition, DMK has contended that its MLAs were “illegally evicted" from the assembly when they sought a secret ballot on the vote of confidence moved by Palaniswami.
When the petition filed by DMK working president M.K. Stalin came up for hearing on Monday, counsel R. Shanmugasundaram informed the court that the petitioner had written to the assembly secretary seeking unedited video recordings of the entire house proceedings on 18 February.
However, the petitioner was informed that the video could be produced only if there was an official notice from the court, the lawyer said.
The court directed the assembly secretary to produce the video recordings of the house proceedings on the day of the trust vote and posted the matter for hearing on 10 March.
Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao has also sought a detailed report on the happenings in the state assembly during the confidence motion. Assembly secretary A.M.P. Jamaludeen submitted a report to the governor on 20 February.