Reprieve for Mulayam Govt
THE LUCKNOW Bench of the Allahabad High Court today quashed the two decisions of the then Speaker Keshari Nath Tripathi allowing the recognition and merger of the breakaway group of 40 BSP MLAs in 2003 with the Samajwadi Party. The three-member bench in a 2-1 verdict, however, remanded the issue of disqualification back to the Speaker.india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 01:55 IST
Ball in Speaker’s court
THE LUCKNOW Bench of the Allahabad High Court today quashed the two decisions of the then Speaker Keshari Nath Tripathi allowing the recognition and merger of the breakaway group of 40 BSP MLAs in 2003 with the Samajwadi Party. The three-member bench in a 2-1 verdict, however, remanded the issue of disqualification back to the Speaker.
The court also quashed the order of the present Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey rejecting the BSP petition seeking disqualification of 13 MLAs. The three-member bench consisting of Chief Justice AN Ray, Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice Pradip Kant delivered the verdict in an open court amid tight security arrangements. While Chief Justice Ray rejected the BSP petition, the other two judges Justice Bhalla and Justice Kant sent back the case to the Speaker.
They also directed the Speaker to reconsider the issue in the light of today’s judgment.
The chief justice in his verdict announced that the Speaker’s decisions dated September 6 and 9, 2003 and September 8, 2005 regarding recognition of breakaway group Loktantrik Bahujan Dal and subsequently its merger with Samajwadi Party were valid. However, Justice Bhalla and Justice Kant in their separate orders, quashed all the three decisions of the Speaker.
As soon as the verdicts were delivered senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi urged the bench to grant leave to file an SLP before the Supreme Court against the majority decision, but the court rejected the plea. Dwivedi also prayed for the keeping the operative part of the majority decision in abeyance for a week to enable the respondent MLAs to approach the apex court directly. But Dwevidi’s prayer was strongly opposed by the petitioner’s counsel SC Mishra on the ground that when the leave for filing SLP had been declined, this subsequent prayer could not be allowed as both meant one and the same thing.
The court while declining to accede to the request observed that since the MLAs had not been disqualified by the court they were free to follow their own conscience in connection with whip.
While clarifying that the MLAs were not disqualified, the court was silent over their party status. When the BSP advocate SC Mishra pointed out that the party could issue a whip to these MLAs to obey the directive on the floor of the House, the court observed they could act according to their conscience.
After the split on August 25, 2003, the BSP breakaway group had formed a new party Loktantrik Bahujan Dal, which was recognised by the then Speaker Keshari Nath Tripathi on September 6, 2003. Two days later on September 8, the Speaker also approved its merger with the SP.
The BSP had then gone to the court against these two decisions. The BSP claimed that the split was in two parts. First a group of 13 MLAs left the party and later another faction of 27 MLAs deserted. Thus in no condition the two groups enjoyed one-third majority to legalise the split. However, the Speaker maintained that split was in one go consisting of 40 MLAs.