The Delhi Assembly speaker on Tuesday sought a day’s time from the Delhi High Court to respond on the plea of expelled Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Vinod Kumar Binny.
Binny had moved court, seeking direction to declare him an independent candidate. This will give him immunity from disqualification if he defied the whip of his former party.
Justice Manmohan posted the matter for Wednesday but indicated that the court was inclined to give him a relief similar to what the Supreme Court gave to former Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Jaya Prada in 2010. The court had shielded Singh and Jaya Prada from being disqualified from Parliament under the anti-defection law after they defied the whip of their former party.
During the hearing, advocate Rahul Raj Malik, appearing for Binny, contended that his client was compelled to vote in favour of the party when the Jan Lokpal bill was tabled in the House. “Even though Binny has been expelled from the party and ceases to enjoy the privileges enjoyed by other members of the party, he has to follow the party’s diktat,” Malik contended.
Without any legal protection, Binny could have been disqualified if he had voted against the whip.
In the petition, Binny has also challenged the legality of a letter written to him by Speaker MS Dhir, informing him that even after his expulsion from AAP, he continued to be a member of the AAP legislature party.
“The petitioner being an Independent member should be allowed to exercise his democratic right of voting in favour or against any motion of the house,” Binny said in his petition.
Binny said, subsequent to the Speaker’s letter, the AAP government “issued two whips on the petitioner dated February 12, 2014 and February 13, 2014, thereby making it mandatory for the petitioner to attend the assembly and compelled him to cast his vote in its favour”.