Plea in HC wants poll expenses to be recovered from 18 disqualified MLAs, AIADMK

Madurai, Dec 10 (PTI) The Madras High Court on Monday issued notice to the Election Commission and 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs on a petition seeking a direction to recover the expenditure made on conducting elections to their constituencies in 2016 from the former legislators and the party.A bench of justices K K Sasidharan and P D Audikesavalu turned down the request to postpone the bypolls till the petition was disposed of, but directed the EC to file its reply regarding holding of by-elections to fill the vacancies.Petitioner K K Ramesh said by-elections to the 18 seats will be held with public funds because the MLAs had defected and the money spent on the polls in 2016 had been wasted.He wanted the government to recover the money from the 18 disqualified MLAs and AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator K Palaniswami and spend it on rehabilitating the cyclone 'Gaja' hit people.The petitioner also sought a stay on holding fresh elections till the recovery was made.Refusing to order a stay, the judges issued notice to the authorities and others, including the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, and posted the petition to January 4 for further hearing.The 18 MLAs loyal to ousted AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran were disqualified by the Assembly Speaker in September last year under the anti-defection law.The high court had upheld their disqualification and gave the go ahead for holding the by-elections to the constituencies. PTI SSN VS RT