Updated: November 23, 2021 7:41:36 am
THE SUPREME Court on Monday asked the West Bengal Assembly Speaker to decide “expeditiously” the petition for disqualification of MLA Mukul Roy who defected from the BJP to TMC after Assembly elections in the state.
“We direct the Speaker, West Bengal Legislative Assembly, to decide the petition filed under the Tenth Schedule for disqualification of respondent No.2 expeditiously,” ordered a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hima Kohli.
Speaker Biman Banerjee had moved a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the SC against the HC order asking him to decide on the disqualification and place the order before it by October 7.
The HC order came on a plea by BJP MLA Ambika Roy challenging Mukul Roy’s appointment as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Appearing for the Speaker Monday, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said though the Speaker was scheduled to hear the matter on November 12, it was deferred to December 21 as the SLP had been filed in the top court.
The bench referred to paragraph 80 of the HC judgment which said the issue of Roy’s disqualification as MLA is co-related with him being the PAC Chairman and asked “should we ignore Para 80?”
Singhvi, however, said the petition before the HC was different from the disqualification plea. He asked, “Will your Lordships micromanage the Speaker’s calendar?” and said, “he has to hear the parties”.
He pointed out to the Bench that pursuant to Article 212, courts cannot inquire into proceedings of the Legislature on the ground of an alleged irregularity of procedure.
Justice Nageswara Rao responded that there is a general practice of Speakers sitting on defection petitions. “There are so many cases where there is a delay by the Speaker.. we are told you stay away, let the Speaker decide,” he remarked.
Singhvi said courts must interfere only when there is egregious delay and added that the instant case does not warrant such interference.
Appearing for Ambika Roy, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade submitted that the attempt was to delay proceedings and to make sure that a period of one year goes by.
Singhvi said courts must interfere only when there is egregious delay and the instant case does not warrant such interference.
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