New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow BJP leader Madan Dilawar’s challenge of Rajasthan High Court’s refusal to stay the Speaker’s decision to let 6 BSP MLAs merge with Congress.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for the petitioner submitted before the court that 6 BSP MLAs claim they merged with congress. The Supreme Court has decided merger question cannot be decided in abstract. My client had filed a disqualification petition. It was dismissed on technical grounds. Now the Six MLAs have filed a transfer plea as the question of law pending in the Supreme Court.
Salve requested to list both the matters either tomorrow or day after.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra has directed to list both the matters tomorrow.
In his plea, Dilawar has requested that the voting rights of these 6 BSP MLAs should not be allowed to vote in the upcoming session of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly scheduled to start on August 14.
The petitioner contended that the Legislative Assembly Election in Rajasthan was held on 7th December 2018 in which 6 MLAs were elected on the ticket issued by the Bahujan Samaj Party. However, on an application having been submitted by them namely Sandeep Yadav, (Tijara), Wajib Ali (Nagar), Deepchand Kheria (Kisangarh Bas), Lakhan Meena (Karauli), Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha (Udaipurwati) to the speaker on 16.09.2019, the speaker passed the order dated 18.09.2019 declaring that 6 BSP MLAs to be an integral part of the Indian National congress.
Later, he challenged the Speaker’s decision before the High Court in March 2020 under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, seeking stay of the same in order to restrict the six MLAs from attending the proceedings in the House while the matter was pending before the High Court. The Writ Petition however was withdrawn as the impugned order came to be served upon the Petitioner on 28.07.2020. The Petitioner subsequently put to challenge; the same by way of a Writ Petition wherein notice came to be issued, however, no interim order was granted despite urging for the same.
On August 6, 2020, the division bench of the High Court has disposed of the Writ Appeal without considering of the Petitioner for interim relief. The petitioner has moved the Supreme Court by way of SLP.
Also, in between a transfer petition has been filed by Six MLAs, who were elected to the Rajasthan Assembly on BSP tickets, but later merged with the Congress.
The petition filed by the 6 BSP MLA said “the entire basis for the Writ Petition pending before the Hon’ble High Court is that there has been no merger between the BSP and the INC. It is submitted that as aforementioned, the Speaker of the Legislature, while acting under Paragraph 4(2) is not concerned with the happenings outside the legislature, so long as two- thirds of the legislature party has accepted the merger as contemplated. For that in the present fact situation, the entire Legislature Party of the BSP has merged with the Legislature Party of the INC, and therefore, the condition laid down in subparagraph (2) of Paragraph 4 is satisfied to not attract disqualification under Paragraph 2.”
The question of law which has been raised in the petition before the High Court is: “Whether for the purposes of para 4 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, the original political party needs to be merged, apart from the merger of the Legislative party?”
The petitioners have referred to a case where, a division bench of the Gauhati High Court in the case Speaker, Nagaland Legislative Assembly and Anr. Vs Imtilemba Sangtam, MLA & Ors, the court had taken the view that the only requirement is of the merger of the legislative party and there is no requirement of the merger of the political party by virtue of the deeming fiction under sub-paragraph (2) of Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday (August 9) urged all the MLAs to “save the democracy”. The political tussle in Rajasthan started few days ago after CM Gehlot’s former deputy Sachin Pilot rebelled against the party with 18 of his loyalist MLAs. Pilot and these MLAs also defied the party whip to attend CLP meetings.
-India Legal Bureau