Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh Monday issued a notice to Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira asking why action under the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution should not be initiated against him for disqualification from the Vidhan Sabha.
Khaira has been given 15 days to file his reply, an official spokesperson said. “The Vidhan Sabha has issued a notice to Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira for disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India,” he said.
The notice was issued following petitions filed by Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and one Harsimran Singh, a resident of Bholath. “In their respective petitions, they made references to the Speaker for Khaira’s disqualification,” the spokesman said.
In his petition to the Speaker, Cheema had said that Khaira had voluntarily given up the membership of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and had floated his own political party ‘Punjabi Ekta Party’. He had quit the AAP on January 6, six months after he was ousted from the post of Leader of Opposition of the Punjab Assembly. However, he had not resigned as MLA and had dared the AAP to get him disqualified.
The petition says Khaira was elected as an MLA on AAP symbol and since he is no longer part of the party, he was no longer qualified to hold the office of a legislator and the seat should be declared vacant.
The Tenth Schedule is known as the ‘anti-defection’ law and was made part of the constitution by amendment in 1985. It comes into effect when an elected member of a legislative body shows disloyalty to the parent political party and crosses over to another party. In case Khaira failed to give a reply within 15 days, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say in this regard, the spokesman added.