THE LUCKNOW bench of the Allahabad High Court here on Wednesday stayed the Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey’s order disqualifying four BSP legislators – Ms Omwati, Ratan Lal Ahirwar, Kalyan Singh Dohrey and Sunderlal — on August 19.
A division bench, comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Arun Tandon, passed the above interim order on a writ petition filed by the aggrieved legislators. The bench, however, provided that the said legislators will not be entitled to cast their votes in the Vidhan Sabha in the meantime. The matter shall come up for hearing on October 5 next, the bench said.
The Speaker had disqualified the legislators under the provisions of Schedule 10 of the Constitution for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections. This was the first case of disqualification by the Speaker for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election in which the provisions of the para 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule had been invoked. As amended Representation of People Act provided for open voting (showing of the ballot paper to authorised agent of political party) the MLAs stood exposed for cross-voting and invited the wrath of party leadership.
The Speaker, in his order, had noted that “voting for the BSP in violation of party whip was an act of indiscipline. This conduct of the MLAs was against party loyalty,” said the Speaker. Samajwadi Party General Secretary and the Minister for PWD Shiv Pal Singh Yadav had filed the petition seeking disqualification of five SP MLAs. Amidst indications that a compromise had been reached between SP leadership and the fifth MLA Kamlesh Pathak the Speaker had delinked the petition filed against him from the four MLAs.
The Speaker had listed eight points that he said were considered for delivering the disqualification verdict. Earlier, the aggrieved legislators had approached the apex court, challenging their disqualification but it reportedly directed them to seek a remedy from the concerned high court. Accordingly, a writ petition was filed at the Lucknow bench of the high court on which the above orders were passed here today.
The Speaker and Shiv Pal Singh Yadav have been arrayed as opposite parties in the writ petition.