Even public can press anti-defection charges: SC | india | Hindustan Times
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Even public can press anti-defection charges: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that “any interested person” can invoke anti-defection law to seek disqualification of a legislator for switching political loyalty. Until now, only a legislator could initiate such a move.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2013 01:05 IST
Satya Prakash

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that “any interested person” can invoke anti-defection law to seek disqualification of a legislator for switching political loyalty. Until now, only a legislator could initiate such a move.

The ruling came on a petition filed by Odisha assembly apeaker challenging a verdict of the state high court which said even a non-legislator can initiate disqualification proceedings against a legislator for deserting the party on whose ticket s/he was elected and joining another political party.

Odisha NCP president Utkal Keshari Parida had approached the speaker seeking disqualification of all four MLAs of his party in Odisha — Amar Prasad Satpathy, Ramachandra Hansdah, Prashant Nanda and Nabin Nanda — after they joined the BJD on June 5, 2012. The HC rejected the speaker’s contention that Parida’s plea was not maintainable as he was not an MLA.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altmas Kabir read down a provision of the Odisha Assembly Rules, 1987, according to which only a legislator could put in motion disqualification proceedings under the anti-defection law.

“…otherwise, the very object of the introduction of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution would be rendered meaningless,” the bench, also comprising justice J Chelameswar and justice Vikramajit Sen, said dismissing the speaker’s appeal.

“The provisions of Sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 6 of the 1987 Rules have, therefore, to be read down to make it clear that not only a Member of the House, but any person interested, would also be entitled to bring to the notice of the Speaker the fact that a Member of the House had incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India,” the bench said, adding thereafter the speaker can decide the issue.