M A I N   N E W S

5 Haryana defector MLAs declared ‘unattached’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Two years after Sarvshri Satpal Sangwan, Vinod Bhayana, Narendra Singh, Zile Ram Sharma and Dharam Singh switched sides, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled these “unattached members of the Legislative Assembly” will not hold any office till the Vidhan Sabha Speaker decides their disqualification petitions. The Bench also set four-month deadline for the Speaker to act.

Categorically ruling that the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker was causing unnecessary delay in finalising the proceedings, the Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice Gurdev Singh also directed him “to again comply with the undertaking given to the Court and proceed with the disqualification petitions in accordance with law and decide the same on or before April 30, 2012”.

In its detailed order, the Bench ruled the MLAs “would not be deemed to be members of the INC party, nor that of the HJC (BL) till the decision on disqualification petitions. “However, they would continue to be regarded as unattached members of the Legislative Assembly for the purposes of attending the session and for no other purpose.

“They shall also not hold any office till the decision on disqualification petitions. The Speaker shall allot them a separate set of seats in the House. However, their status shall be subject to the final decision of the Speaker in disqualification petitions, which are pending before him”.

In its detailed order, the Bench asserted: “The Speaker has not been able to proceed with the disqualification petitions as expeditiously as possible and in accordance with the directions issued by this court.

“The disqualification petitions were filed on December 9, 2009, and a period of two years has been consumed…. The law against defection was enacted to save sanctity of democratic institution, whereas in the present case basic object of that law appears to have been lost”.

In its detailed order, the Bench agreed to the contention raised by Kuldeep Bishnoi’s counsel Satya Pal Jain “that in order to avoid superfluous and artificial delay, the court is competent to decide the disqualification petition, particularly in the cases where no evidence is required to be adduced…

“When the aforesaid principles are applied to the facts of the present cases, it becomes evident that the Speaker is treating the disqualification petitions as adversarial litigation. A casual look on the proceedings before the appellant-Speaker would show the superfluous and unnecessary dilatory mechanism has been introduced by him".

The general election to Haryana Vidhan Sabha was held in October 2009. Six members were elected on the ticket of Haryana Janhit Congress. But in November 2009, the five members submitted applications to the Speaker saying the “legislators of Haryana Janhit Congress have decided to merge the party with the Indian National Congress”.

On the same day, the Speaker, without notice to the HJC president, passed two orders accepting the alleged merger.

Appearing on behalf of the Speaker, Solicitor-General of India Gopal Subramanium had earlier asserted that the Speaker has made every endeavour to dispose of the petition as expeditiously as possible. Subramanium’s declaration had echoed the assertion of Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Jain. He too had made a similar assertion while appearing on behalf of the Speaker previously. 





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