New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Tuesday held that instead of the Speaker holding exclusive powers, the Parliament must contemplate on having an independent and permanent body to decide disqualification petitions against MPs and MLAs.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman pointed out that it was high time that the Parliament revisited the rationale in giving exclusive powers to the Speaker for deciding disqualification petitions and also questioned why the Speaker alone should have the powers to take decision on disqualification petitions when he/she is still a member of a political party.
Hearing a case pertaining to disqualification of Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar in Manipur who won on a ticket from Congress but later joined the BJP-led government in the state, the SC asked the Speaker to decide disqualification petitions by the Congress MLA within 4 weeks.
The SC, while maintaining that the Speaker should not procrastinate a judgement and must preferably decide disqualification petitions within three months, asked the MLAs to come back to court if the a decision isn't taken.
Two Congress MLAs had petitioned the tribunal of the Speaker but it was not decided for too long. When the MLAs moved the High Court, it passed adverse comments on the Speaker's action but refrained from deciding on the disqualification for want of jurisdiction under the anti-defection laws, reported Indiatoday.
The Supreme Court has recently also dealt with the Karnataka's case where 17 rebel MLAs from the coalition government of the Congress and the JDS had come to the Court complaining that the Speaker was not accepting their resignation. Subsequently, they also challenged their disqualification by the Speaker.
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