Supreme Court: A non-member can also move Speaker for disqualification of defectors
As per the latest ruling of the apex court, not only an MLA but any interested person has the right to inform the Speaker of the fact that a member has incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) and the presiding officer is bound to take action on the complaint.
What is the issue?
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Utkar Keshari Parida, who is not an MLA, had filed an application to the Speaker seeking disqualification of all 4 MLAs who defected the party and joined Biju Janata Dal (BJD). However. The Speaker took no action. Parida moved the Orissa High Court which held that the writ petition was maintainable. The Supreme Court dismissed the Speaker’s appeal against the ruling which said “Although disqualified under paragraph 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule, in the absence of any application for disqualification to the Speaker, they [the four MLAs] would continue to function as members of the Assembly, which was not the object sought to be achieved by the 52nd Amendment, by which the Tenth Schedule was introduced in the Constitution.” It held that the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, which finally became the Constitution 52nd Amendment Act, 1985, indicated that the evil of political defection had become a serious problem and if it was not curbed, it could very well undermine the very foundation of our democracy and the principles which sustain the same. In such an event, if the provisions of the Tenth Schedule are interpreted to exclude the right of any person interested to bring to the notice of the Speaker of the House the fact that any or some of its members had incurred disqualification on any of the eventualities indicated in paragraphs 2 and 4 therein, it would render the inclusion of the Tenth Schedule in the Constitution otiose and defeat the objects and intent of the 52nd Amendment.