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LS Speaker gets notice from HC
Expulsion of MPs
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 13
The Delhi High Court today issued notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Som Nath Chatterjee on a petition by MP Lal Chandra Kol, challenging his expulsion from the House for his alleged involvement in the “cash-for-query” scam.

This is the first notice issued to the Speaker, who had made it clear that the courts have no jurisdiction in the matter and had gone to the extent that he would not respond to any notice by any court on the issue.

The Speaker has even called an all party meeting to discuss the issue of court’s interference in the matter.

Taking cognizance of the writ petition of Kol, a Bench of Mr Justice Vijender Jain and Ms Justice Rekha Sharma also issued notices to the Union Government and the Election Commission apart from the Speaker.

They have been directed to submit their replies by February 16, when the petition would be taken up for further hearing with other writ petition of eight other MPs, whose petition notices were earlier issued by the Bench to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats, as in those petitions Speaker or Rajya Sabha Chairperson, as the case may be, were not named as respondents in those petitions. But Kol had named Speaker also as a respondent in his petition, besides, the Union Government and the EC.

The other expelled MPs who had moved the High Court earlier were Chhatrapal Singh Lodha (Rajya Sabha), Suresh Chandel, Y.G. Mahajan, Pradeep Gandhi, Anna Saheb Patel, Ram Sevak Singh, Chandra Pratap Singh and Manoj Kumar.

These MPs had questioned their expulsion on the ground that there was no provision in the Constitution giving power to the House to expel a member.

Mr Chatterjee in his statement last week had said that the courts had no jurisdiction to interfere in the matter and he would not respond to any notice issued by any court on this issue.

The main contention of the petitioner MPs was that their expulsion was against the principles of natural justice as they were not given any opportunity to defend their case before the House. They had stated that before taking any decision about their expulsion, the matter could have been referred to the Privilege Committee. They had also challenged the report of the Pawan Kumar Bansal Committee, appointed by the Lok Sabha Speaker to inquire into the matter, saying it had not followed proper procedure to examine the issue.

One MP, Raja Ram Pal of BSP had moved the Supreme Court, which is likely to be listed for hearing next week.

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