SC declines to decide MLA disqualification issue observing it should be first decided by the Speaker

The SC in judgment regarding an alleged defection of an MLA in the Manipur assembly has held that the speaker should decide the issue of disqualification of MLAs who had allegedly defected to another party in a fixed time period of three months.

The issue, in this case, was such that the Congress MLA was sworn in as a minister in the newly formed BJP government in the state after he supported the government in coming to power. Thereafter a disqualification application was filed against the MLA (respondent no 3) before the speaker of the house stating that the respondent should be disqualified under paragraph w(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

After no action was taken by the Speaker regarding the application filed for the disqualification of the respondent, a writ petition was filed in the High Court of Manipur praying the court to direct the speaker to decide the disqualification petition in a reasonable time.

While taking note of the facts of the case and past judgments which had similar facts to the present case, the Hon’ble SC held that it was not possible for the court to decide the disqualification petition of the MLA given the inaction of the speaker on the issue. The SC further held that-
‘The only relief that can be given in these appeals is that the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly be directed to decide the disqualification petitions pending before him within a period of four weeks from the date on which this judgment is intimated to him. In case no decision is forthcoming even after a period of four weeks, it will be open to any party to the proceedings to apply to this Court for further directions/reliefs in the matter.’

The SC in its judgment also emphasized the importance of taking the decision regarding the disqualification in a reasonable time.

Kaustubh Kulkarni

Law student at ILS Law College, Pune
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