SC to decide whether expelled lawmaker subject to anti-defection law

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict whether a lawmaker, who has been expelled from his party, could suffer disqualification under anti-defection law for defying the party whip subsequent to his expulsion.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant would pronounce their order on the seven questions that were framed by a two-judge bench saying that on certain aspects of anti-defection law, its 1996 judgment in Vishwanathan case was not clear.

The two-judge bench had referred the questions to a larger bench on November 15, 2010, following the plea by then expelled Samajwadi Party lawmakers Amar Singh and Jaya Prada who had contended that they were outside the ambit of anti-defection law as they were declared as an unattached member of the house following their expulsion.

Besides, Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, another lawmaker Pyarimohan Mohapatra too had moved the court in 2012.

Both Amar Singh and Jaya Prada had moved the top court in 2010 and since then, political developments have come a full circle with Amar Singh back in the party fold.

The top court had on November 15, 2010, referred to a larger bench the key question whether a lawmaker after being expelled from the party could be disqualified under the anti-defection law if he defies the party whip during voting on a bill or motion in the legislature.

In the Vishwanathan case, the top court in 1996 had held that even if a lawmaker is expelled from the party, for the purposes of two houses of parliament and the state legislatures, he/she would be deemed to continue to belong to such party.

The questions framed by the two-judge bench had included the status of lawmaker in either house of parliament or the state legislature after being expelled by the party which had set him/her up as a candidate for election.

While referring to the larger bench to examine whether view taken by the apex court in 1996 was a correct one in the context of the parliamentary debate on the anti-defection law, the court had asked the larger bench to examine “will the provisions of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution apply to such Member”.

The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the provision for the disqualification of a lawmaker on the grounds of defection.

–IANS

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