Kuldeep Bishnoi and Jaiprakash were disqualified by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee from membership of the Lok Sabha in response to petitions filed by the Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) respectively, under the Anti-Defection Act.
While the Congress had petitioned the Speaker to disqualify Bishnoi after he floated a separate outfit, the SP’s petition came when Jaiprakash (MP from Mohanlalganj in UP) thumbed his nose at his party when it directed its MPs to vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s confidence motion in July.
Bishnoi, who was suspended from the Congress for setting up the Haryana Janhit Congress, had also gone against his party and voted against the confidence motion. He is the son of former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal and represented Bhiwani in the Lok Sabha.
Similar action is expected against other MPs who had violated the party whip during the confidence vote. In all, 28 MPs across the spectrum had defied their party whip by either absenting, abstaining or voting for (or against) the government during the confidence vote.
According to procedure, after the Speaker receives petitions for expulsion under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, his Secretariat issues notices to the concerned MPs seeking a reply from them within a time frame, normally of 10 days. A reminder is sent if there is no response. And if a member seeks extra time, it is generally allowed.
Acting as a tribunal, the Speaker can either take a decision after assessing the MP’s response or refer the matter to the Lok Sabha’s Privileges Committee, as in Bishnoi’s case. The Haryana leader however, failed to appear before the panel, which then sent its report recommending disqualification to the Speaker.