The Supreme Court will examine if those disqualified under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for defection be barred from re-contesting by-elections in the remaining term of the House to which they were elected.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on Thursday issued notice to the Election Commission and the Centre on a plea by Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jaya Thakur who has sought this relief.
The plea, which comes in the wake of many party MLAs in the state leaving the Congress to join the BJP, says that defecting lawmakers seeking re-election under a new political flag has made the anti-defection law redundant.
Thakur has contended that a member of the House who incurs disqualification under the Tenth Schedule “cannot be permitted to contest again during the term for which” they are elected. “Article 172 makes a membership of a House co terminus with the term of 5 years of the House except in circumstances mentioned therein,” the plea said.
The petitioner said that the Tenth Schedule read with Article 191(1) (e) of the Constitution makes it clear that a member disqualified under the Tenth Schedule cannot re-contest during the term for which he or she was elected and stressed that this has to be implemented so as to ensure that the object of the law against defection is not defeated.
The plea has said Paragraph 2 of Tenth Schedule uses the words “disqualified for being a member of the House”. The term of the House (Parliament or Assembly) is for five years and hence the disqualification would apply, it has said.