Is an expelled lawmaker bound by the anti-defection law that mandates an elected representative to follow his or her party whip issued during floor test?
The Supreme Court referred this question on Monday to a larger bench and urged Chief Justice JS Khehar to set-up a Constitution Bench to hear the matter.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra made the reference after it heard a petition, raising the issue, filed by expelled Samajwadi Party MP Amar Singh. Centre, too, was asked to respond to Singh who has pleaded for protection from disqualification.
This is the second time Amar Singh has moved the top court raising the issue of the status of an MP or MLA expelled from the party which set him/her up as a candidate for election.
The first time he had filed a petition in SC was in 2011. Although the matter was then referred to a three-judge bench, it became infructuous after his Rajya Sabha term got over. When the matter came up for a hearing in August 2016, SC declined to answer the question.
But, the SC agreed to take up Amar Singh’s concern again after taking note of the fact that his current Rajya Sabha term would expire only after July 2022.