As the poll is conducted by the Election Commission and as elected representatives to the Tamil Nadu Assembly and voters in the poll, they had every right to exercise their franchise.
As six suspended MLAs of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) have knocked the doors of the Madras High Court seeking a direction to allow them to vote in the June 27 Rajya Sabha polls from Tamil Nadu, Election Commission sources made it clear that no one can deny them their right to vote.
A senior EC official pointed out that the poll to the Upper House was conducted by the Election Commission and as elected representatives to the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu and voters in the poll they had every right to exercise their franchise.
Former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha P.D.T. Acharya told The Hindu in New Delhi on Tuesday that the order of the Speaker suspending them would apply only to the proceedings and their conduct inside the House and this had nothing to do with their right to vote in the RS poll held by EC. “They have every right to vote under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and no one can deny them this right,” he said.
When asked whether the MLAs could be denied entry, as they were suspended, and the premises where the poll was going to take place comes within the Assembly precincts, Mr. Acharya said this could not be done as the EC, for convenience had fixed the polling venue there (inside Fort St. George in Chennai). As such the Speaker had no jurisdiction over the venue of poll when election was held there, he said.
The six DMDK MLAs — V.C. Chandhira Kumar, P. Parthasarthi, T. Murugesan, K. Nallathambi, S. Senthilkumar and R. Arulselvam — have filed a petition in the Madras High Court on Tuesday seeking direction from the court for allowing them to vote in the RS poll. They also challenged the order of the single judge of the High Court who had earlier dismissed their petition that challenged the Speaker’s order suspending them from the House.
The MLAs of DMDK, led by actor-politician Vijayakant, were suspended on March 25, 2013, for a year by Speaker P. Dhanapal, accepting the findings of the Assembly privileges committee and after getting the nod of the House, for allegedly assaulting their fellow MLA from Radhapuram Michael Rayappan, during the Assembly proceedings on February 8. Later, the punishment was reduced to six months by the House.