Giving relief to expelled Samajwadi Party MPs Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that no action shall be taken against under the Anti-Defection Law in the event of their defying a party whip.
A bench headed by Altamas Kabir passed the order while referring to a larger constitution bench the question as to whether an expelled member could be disqualified under law, if he chooses to defy a party whip.
Both Singh and Jaya Prada had sought interim stay on any possible action against them in case they decided to vote in favour of Women’s Reservation Bill to which the SP is fiercely opposed to.
The apex court had on November 10 decided to make the reference after Attorney General GE Vahanvati agreed that the issue needs to be settled by a larger bench as the SC's earlier judgment in the Vishwanathan case was not clear on certain aspects of the law.
It took the decision after hearing in detail Vahanvati and senior counsel Harish Salve and KK Venugopal, appearing for Singh and Jaya Prada.
The two leaders had contended that they have landed in a piquant situation, because as expelled members they apprehend disqualification under the anti-defection law if they choose to defy party's whip on any issue in Parliament.
The counsel for the two parliamentarians argued that the anti-defection law could be evoked only against those who defect from the party or defy its whip while being in the party.
But, in their case, the MPs did not defected from the party but were expelled, and as unattached members, they were not amenable to the party's whip.