What happens to a legislator who does not obey a whip issued by his party? Will he or she be disqualified? The Supreme Court will answer the question.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Friday issued notice to the Election Commission of India, Chief Secretary of Goa, Goa state Election Commission and others on a petition filed by the Congress seeking disqualification of state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who quit as Congress MLA to join the BJP ahead of the 2017 trust vote. The petition also sought a declaration that the acceptance of Naik’s resignation was unconstitutional and bad in law.
SC gave six weeks’ time to the parties to reply to the plea by the Congress and its state unit challenging a Bombay HC order. The Goa bench of the Bombay HC had dismissed the Congress plea, holding that due to the voluntary resignation of Rane from the Assembly, the question of disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution cannot be decided by it.
The SC said there were important questions to be decided like “what happens if a legislator does not obey a whip” and “whether an absentee legislator can derail the 10th schedule by submitting an application for resignation”.
Rane, who became MLA on a Congress ticket on February 4 last year, defied the Congress whip to vote against the motion of confidence moved by the Manohar Parrikar government on March 16, 2017. He remained absent and subsequently joined the BJP.