M A I N   N E W S

delay in deciding Bishnoi’s plea
HC raps Haryana Speaker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The failure of the Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha to honour the undertaking of hearing the disqualification petition filed by MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi at least four times a month has not gone down well with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A Division Bench today strongly disapproved the non-compliance with the undertaking given to the High Court.

The court was apparently not convinced by the claim of the Speaker’s counsel that efforts were being made to complete the proceedings. Speaking for the Bench, Justice MM Kumar questioned the counsel as to why the Speaker was not following the court’s directions. "Why has he not obeyed the order? Why has a time table not been made?” The high court had earlier asked the Speaker to hold at least four hearings in a month.

The Bench also refused to accept an affidavit filed by the Joint Secretary in the matter on the previous date of hearing. Taking on record the affidavit filed by the Speaker, the court adjourned the case hearing to December 2.

The Bench had earlier asked the counsel for the Speaker and petitioner Kuldeep Bishnoi to furnish the status reports.

The “defecting” MLAs - Satpal Sangwan, Vinod Bhyana, Narender Singh, Zileram and Dharam Singh - had joined the Congress in November 2009.

The matter was placed before the Division Bench after the Single Judge’s order fixing a four-month deadline for Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker to decide Bishnoi’s plea was challenged.

The Single Judge had also ruled that judicial intervention in the matter was justified. “It can be concluded that the substantive right of the petitioner - Kuldeep Bishnoi - to have his (dispute) decided is being defeated by the procedural facet of extension of time to file replies by respondent MLAs.

“Consequently, this court is of the considered opinion that the present is a case where judicial intervention is justified even during the trial of the petitions, filed by the petitioner. The court issues a direction to the respondent Speaker to decide the petitions within a fixed time frame.”

The MLAs have been arguing in their petition that the Single Judge “has gone wrong and has decided the case against the mandate of the apex court, when he said because some adjournments were granted, judicial interference by the high court is justified.

“There was no inordinate delay before the Speaker. The judgment is a nullity and deserves to be declared contrary to the judgment of the apex court”.





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