New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Congress has welcomed the Supreme Court’s suggestion that disqualification petitions of MPs and MLAs should be decided within a timeframe.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said “setting up of a tribunal on the matter is a welcome step as sometimes it is not decided for many years because of several reasons.”
The matter pertains to Manipur where Congress got 28 seats and BJP got 21. BJP aligned with NPP along with one MLA of Congress who later became a minister. An application of disqualification was filed against him but Speaker did not take any action, post which a writ petition was filed.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman, insisting on introducing more fairness in the procedure, held that Parliament could possibly create an independent and permanent body to decide the disqualification petitions against MPs and MLAs, instead of the Speaker having the exclusive powers.
The top court’s observation came in a case of disqualification of Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar in Manipur. Shyamkumar had won on a Congress ticket but switched to the BJP-led government in the state.
In the verdict, the top court held that the Speaker cannot sit on a disqualification petition indefinitely. The court emphasised that it is essential for the Speaker to decide on the matter within a reasonable time period, and recommended the disqualification petitions should be decided within three months.