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Monday, August 10, 2020

Disqualification of lawmakers: SC asks Parliament to rethink Speaker’s powers, suggests independent body

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman left it to Parliament to rethink whether the Speaker of the House, also a member of a political party, should have the power to disqualify MLAs.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 21, 2020 1:34:47 pm
Disqualification of lawmakers: SC asks Parliament to rethink Speaker's powers, suggests independent body The apex court was hearing a petition challenging the disqualification of T Shyamkumar from the Manipur Assembly.

The Supreme Court Tuesday suggested the setting up of an independent mechanism to take decisions regarding the disqualification of members of legislative assemblies. A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman left it to Parliament to rethink whether the Speaker of the House, also a member of a political party, should have the power to disqualify MLAs.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by Congress leaders seeking the disqualification of MLA T Shyamkumar Singh from the Manipur Assembly under the anti-defection law. Singh had contested the 2017 Manipur Assembly elections on a Congress ticket but was later sworn in as a minister of the BJP-led coalition government.

The SC has given the Manipur Speaker four weeks to decide on the petition, after which it granted the petitioners, Md Fajur Rahim and K Meghachandra,  the liberty to approach it again if a decision was not taken.

The Manipur High Court had earlier disposed of their petitions, and refused to pass any order citing shortfalls of its jurisdiction under the tenth schedule.

“It may not be appropriate for this Court to pass any order for the time being, as regards the inaction or indecision on the part of the Speaker to take a decision and moreover, the judicial discipline and propriety demand that High Court shall refrain from issuing a writ petition of quo warranto to declaring the public office of the minister being held by the minister as illegal”, justice KH. Nobin had said.

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