The Madras High Court on Thursday began the final hearing of petitions against the disqualification of 18 AIADMK legislators, owing allegiance to dissident leader TTV Dhinakaran, with their lawyer asserting they only sought a change of the chief minister and never pressed for a trust vote.
It was the DMK which had asked for a floor test for the Palaniswami government in the assembly, senior counsel PS Raman of the disqualified lawmakers said in his submissions before Justice M Sathyanarayanan.
Countering the argument that the lawmakers would have voted against the AIADMK government and brought it down had they not been disqualified, he said the ruling party would have still won the floor test as they were up by three or four legislators.
Senior counsel Ariyama Sundaram, representing the Speaker, said the issue was not about what the governor could do in such circumstances, but what the lawmakers wanted the governor to do, a reference to their demand for changing the chief minister.
The legislators had also informed that they were unwilling to participate in the legislature party meeting to which they were invited, he said.
After Sundaram said he would require one more hour to complete his submissions, the judge posted the matter to August 31 for further hearing.
Justice Sathyanarayanan is hearing the pleas after a bench of then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar gave a split verdict on the matter on June 14.
The 18 AIADMK lawmakers were disqualified on September 18 last year under the anti-defection law after they met the Governor and expressed loss of confidence in Palaniswami.
In view of the split verdict with Justice Banerjee upholding the disqualification and Justice Sundar setting it aside, Justice S Vimala was appointed to hear the petitions afresh.
However, the apex court named Justice Sathyanarayanan while declining to accept a prayer of the disqualified MLAs who raised apprehension of "bias" and sought to transfer the matter to the Supreme Court.