Supreme Court to hear 6 BSP MLAs’ transfer plea today
The six members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) had merged with the Congress in 2019 for which they faced disqualification petitions filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Madan Dilawar. Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi rejected the disqualification pleas on July 29.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 05:44 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear a petition by six former legislators of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Rajasthan demanding the transfer of a petition seeking their disqualification from the Rajasthan high court to the apex court.
The six members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) had merged with the Congress in 2019 for which they faced disqualification petitions filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Madan Dilawar. Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi rejected the disqualification pleas on July 29.
This prompted Dilawar to approach the Rajasthan high court, which issued notice to Joshi on July 30 but refused to stay the speaker’s directive.
In a related development, the Congress party approached the high court to be added as a party to the proceedings there. This matter is also listed on Tuesday when the HC could decide the fate of the six BSP MLAs — Sandeep Yadav (Tijara), Wajib Ali (Nagar), Deepchand Kheria (Kishangarh Bas), Lakhan Singh Meena (Karauli) and Rajendra Gudha (Udaipurwati) ahead of a crucial special assembly session called by chief minister Ashok Gehlot beginning August 14.
While the proceedings remain pending in the high court, Dilawar filed an appeal in the Supreme Court to stay the speaker’s July 29 order. A stay could be crucial in the event chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who has faced a rebellion by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs of his party, faces a trust vote in the House.
Senior advocate Harish Salve appeared for Dilawar before an apex bench of justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari. He said the issue in focus is whether the six MLAs could merge their political party with the Congress when their original political party, BSP, headed by Mayawati ,has refused to sanction the merger. The merger took place on September 16, 2019 and was approved by the speaker on September 18, 2019.
The bench told Salve that the Rajasthan high court had issued notices on Dilawar’s petition and the matter is pending there. Salve informed the Court that to delay the proceedings there, the six BSP MLAs have sought to transfer the petition pending with HC to the Supreme Court. “Their petition (filed on August 8) is pending in the Supreme Court and they are not moving for listing it. Obviously they want to claim in HC that the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.”
The six MLAs have sought a transfer on the grounds that the legal issues raised in Dilawar’s petition before the HC are under consideration of the top court in another case from Assam, in a case titled Mr. Mithou Krose v Imtilemba Sangtam.
The bench sought details of the petition and directed that it be listed on Tuesday along with Dilawar’s plea.
Salve pointed out that the speaker wrongly dismissed the disqualification pleas filed by him in July this year accepting the merger of the six MLAs with Congress. According to Dilawar, the six MLAs were elected to the Rajasthan assembly on a BSP ticket in December 2018. They ought to be disqualified on the grounds of defection under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, Salve said.
But the six MLAs have claimed that as per paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule, when two-thirds of the members of a political party within the assembly merges with another political party in the House, the members will be immune from disqualification.