It is the murder of democracy, said Tamil Nadu's opposition leaders on Monday after Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal disqualified 18 AIADMK rebel legislators under the anti-defection law.
In a statement issued here on Monday, DMK leader M.K. Stalin said Chief Minister E. Palaniswami and Speaker Dhanapal had murdered the democracy by disqualifying the legislators who had petitioned the Governor to change the Chief Minister.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss said: "The murder of democracy is strongly condemned." He said the reasons for disqualification do not attract any provisions of the anti-defection law.
Dhanapal disqualified 18 legislators loyal to sidelined Deputy General Secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran under the anti-defection law for seeking a change of Chief Minister through their letter to Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao.
They had asked the Governor to initiate the process to install a new Chief Minister.
Stalin said even the Supreme Court had ruled that the provisions of the anti-defection law would not be attracted if legislators said that they have lost confidence in their Chief Minister.
According to Stalin, Speaker Dhanapal had lost the moral right to continue in his post and asked him to resign. Palaniswami should also resign, Stalin said.
The DMK leader said no action was taken against the AIADMK legislators including Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam when they voted against the confidence motion moved by Palaniswami some months back.
According to PMK's Ramadoss, the whip can recommend punitive action against legislators only if they act against the orders of the whip in the Assembly.
The PMK leader also charged Governor Rao with "playing an important role in the murder of democracy in the state".
Ramadoss said the Governor should have asked Palaniswami to prove his majority on the floor of the House after the rebel AIADMK MLAs petitioned him.