In relief to the Palaniswami government, the Madras high court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the petitions challenging disqualification of 18 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislators loyal to sidelined leader TTV Dinakaran.
In the keenly-awaited judgment, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upheld the September 18 order of Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualifying the MLAs, while Justice M Sundar disagreed with her and struck it down.
The senior-most judge after her will hear the matter afresh, Justice Banerjee said.
The split verdict has come as a big relief to the AIADMK government headed by Chief Minister K Palaniswami as any possible threat to its stability has been averted for now.
The bench was passing orders on petitions filed by the 18 MLAs challenging their disqualification by the Speaker under the anti-defection law.
The MLAs were disqualified after they had called on the governor on August 22 last year expressing their lack of confidence in the leadership of Palaniswami and seeking a change of guard.