The Supreme Court will examine if the trust vote won by the Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami was valid, signalling fresh trouble for the state government hurtling from one crisis to another after the death of J Jayalalithaa.
The apex court has sought the assistance of Attorney General KK Venugopal in the matter asking if there is any provision for conducting a secret ballot vote during the trust vote in an Assembly. The petition was filed by Panneerselvam's aide K Pandiarajan, news18.com reported. Following this, in the vote that was held, Edappadi Palaniswami got the backing of 122 MLAs while only 11 MLAs, from the Panneerselvam camp, voted against him.
The plea questioned as to why the Speaker did not postpone the proceedings and did not carry the vote of confidence motion through a secret ballot, The New Indian Express reported. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium and lawyer Sunil Fernandes, appearing for the petitioner, argued that keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances that led to the floor test, the speaker ought to have resorted to secret ballot in order to protect the purity of democratic process.
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On 9 December, the court had said it was within its jurisdiction to hear appeals against the 2007 Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award after the Centre and Puducherry opposed the appeals saying that the Constitution expressly ousts the jurisdiction of the apex court in inter-state river water disputes.
The former Tamil Nadu chief minister alleged that he was made to resign under duress, and the MLAs were threatened to vote for Palaniswami.