New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Justice M. Sathyanarayanan as the third judge to hear the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs’ disqualification case after a two-judge bench of the Madras high court delivered a split verdict earlier this month.
A two-judge vacation bench of the apex court comprising justices Arun Mishra and Sanjay Kishan Kaul also refused to transfer the matter from the Madras high court to itself on grounds of “apprehension of the likelihood of bias".
Last September, 18 MLAs loyal to sidelined leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran were disqualified by the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly under the anti-defection law. However, the fate of MLAs remained unresolved even after the Madras high court on 14 June delivered a split verdict over their challenge to their disqualification by Speaker P. Dhanapal.
Their petitions were referred to the next senior-most judge of the high court for nomination of a third judge after Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upheld the speaker’s decision and Justice M. Sundar differed.
Subsequently, Justice S. Vimala was appointed as the third judge by the next senior most judge of the Madras HC.
On 25 June, the disqualified MLAs moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of their case from the Madras HC to the apex court alleging that people knew through WhatsApp about the third judge, raising a likelihood of bias.