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18 MLAs couldn’t provide proof that they didn’t defect: Speaker

Senior Counsel C. Aryama Sundaram, representing Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal, concluded his arguments on Monday in a batch of writ petitions filed by 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs before Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, the third judge appointed by the Supreme Court following a split verdict delivered by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M. Sundar on June 14.

Mr. Sundaram said the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on ground of defection) Rules of 1986 require the Speaker to provide only seven days time to legislators to submit their replies. However, in the case of the 18 MLAs, the Speaker had given them as many as 21 days to defend themselves. Yet, they were unable to produce any tangible evidence to prove that they had not defected from the party, he claimed.

Though the MLAs contended that they did meet Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to submit their grievances before approaching the Governor on August 22 last withdrawing their support to him, Mr. Sundaram said that it was “for a party making a positive assertion to prove it and not for the party rejecting it to prove the negative.” Therefore, the petitioners were not justified in demanding cross examination of the Chief Minister, he argued.

After he completed his arguments, senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, representing the Chief Minister, commenced his arguments and said that he would continue them on Tuesday.

It is for a party making a positive assertion to prove it and not for the party rejecting it to prove the negative

C. Aryama SundaramSenior Counsel

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