Almost five years after five Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) MLAs “merged” with the Congress, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday disqualified them under the anti-defection law. Justice K Kannan, while allowing the writ petition filed by HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, held that the five legislators stand disqualified but added that any decisions taken by them till the pronouncement of judgement shall not be rendered invalid.
The court also disqualfied them from any remunerative political post they may have held since giving up the HJC membership. It set aside the order of the Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma, upholding the “merger”, terming it as being “bad in law” and “invalid”.
The Congress had failed to get the required majority of 45 in the 90-member state assembly in the 2009 assembly polls after finishing with 40 seats. Initially seven Independents joined the Congress but by November that year, the five HJC MLAs — Satpal Sangwan, Vinod Bhyana, Rao Narender Singh, Zile Ram Chochra and Dharam Singh Chhokar — also joined claiming that their party had merged with the Congress.