Saturday, July 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mohinder declared unattached
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, July 14 — The Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker, Mr Gulab Singh, today declared the PWD Minister and leader of the breakaway group of the Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC), Mr Mohinder Singh as unattached member.

In his three-page order Mr Gulab Singh accepted the contention of Mr Sukh Ram leader of the HVC legislature Party, that Mr Mohinder Singh stood expelled from his parent party. He said he had no option but to go by the majority decision of the HVC Legislature Party and declare him as “unattached member” in view of the precedents in Parliament and the state Vidhan Sabha and the procedure and conduct of business rules of the House.

Elaborating the order he said both Mr Sukh Ram and Mr Mohinder Singh had been claiming to be the real HVC. But what was happening in a political party outside the legislative assembly did not fall in the jurisdiction of the Speaker who could take cognisance of the developments taking place in a party inside the House only. Other forums were available to settle such matters pertaining legislators outside the legislature.

Further, as per the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution the question of a split in the original party or the legislature party could be considered only if the member makes such claim specifically. Mr Mohinder Singh, had not claimed any split in the original HVC. He had also not specifically explained his position with regard to the claim of Mr Sukh Ram that he had been expelled from the party by the majority. Thus, on record the status in HVC Legislature Party was clear to the extent that out of its three members two, Mr Sukh Ram and Mr R.L. Markandey, met on April 26, 2000 and decided by a resolution to expel the third member, Mr Mohinder Singh.

Moreover, Mr Mohinder Singh had in his reply had neither challenged his expulsion from the legislature party, nor contested the competence of the HVCLP or its members to expel him. The issue of his expulsion had been left unanswered by him. He had also not claimed any split in the party.

Unlike previous cases when the expelled legislators were straightway declared “unattached” on the plea of the parent party, Mr Mohinder Singh was given an opportunity to explain his position by the Speaker. He had sought time up to July 6, 2000, for submitting reply. Later he informed the Speaker that his party had completed its organisational poll at Paonta Sahib in which he had been elected chief patron of the party.

Mr Sukh Ram contested the claim on the ground that Mr Mohinder Singh stood expelled from the party as well as the primary membership the HVC. He said he enjoyed the support of two legislators, two MPs and 47 out of the total 47 members of the executive committee. The poll conducted by the splinter group on July 6 was illegal and unconstitutional.

The decision may cause some anxiety to the Chief Minister Mr P.K. Dhumal, who had so far withstood the pressure of Mr Sukh Ram for dropping Mr Mohinder Singh from the Cabinet. Both Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Sukh Ram had pledged support to the coalition despite the split in the party.

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