Secret voting impossible, says Tamil Nadu Speaker

Dhanapal says the Tamil Nadu Assembly rules allow only a voice vote or division

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:58 pm IST

Published - February 18, 2017 11:02 pm IST - Chennai

Out of the House:  Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M.K. Stalin sitting on a fast near the Gandhi statue in Chennai on Saturday in protest against the happenings in the Assembly.

Out of the House: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M.K. Stalin sitting on a fast near the Gandhi statue in Chennai on Saturday in protest against the happenings in the Assembly.

Defending his decision in the Assembly on Saturday, Speaker P. Dhanapal asserted that there was no provision in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules to allow secret voting on a motion of confidence.

He had rejected pleas for secret voting by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the rebel group of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League because he had to go by what was provided in Rule 99 [which deals with the method of taking votes]. Under the Rule, a motion could be adopted either through voice vote or division. Considering the importance of the motion [vote of confidence], he had opted for a division.

‘Sinister plan’

Announcing the voting results, Mr. Dhanapal told the House that DMK MLAs participated in the day’s proceedings with the “plan” of bringing disrepute to the House. He charged them with showing disrespect to the office of the Speaker and his community of Arundathiars.

 

Referring to the outcome of the voting, the Speaker said even if members of the DMK [who were evicted before the division was taken up], the Congress and the IUML [who had staged a walkout before the division] had voted against the motion, it would still have carried with an absolute majority as 122 members had voted in favour.

On the incidents in the House earlier in the day, he said though he did not wish to talk about them, he was forced to comment as the Leader of Opposition [M.K. Stalin] had told the media his version of what transpired.

 

On the marshals evicting DMK MLAs during the second break, a seasoned legislator of the ruling party said he saw nothing wrong as the Speaker had ordered their removal before he adjourned the House for the second time.

Disqualification process

It is learnt that disqualification proceedings can be initiated against the 11 rebel MLAs only when the ruling party formally gives a petition to the Speaker.

If the rebels stand disqualified, their seats will become vacant and by-elections will have to be held within six months.

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