Disqualified Uttarakhand MLAs fail to get relief from SC [Read Order]

Disqualified Uttarakhand MLAs fail to get relief from SC [Read Order]

Nine disqualified Uttarakhand MLAs who have sought a stay on their disqualification and permission to participate in the assembly session, commencing from July 21 in Dehradun are refused any interim relief by the Supreme Court today.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman, however, said that the notice, given by these MLAs and BJP lawmakers, will remain alive and would be subject to the final outcome of its judgement on the petition filed by MLAs.

“But we make it clear that if the motion that was moved by the petitioners (rebel MLAs) for removal of Speaker is taken up anytime in the Uttarakhand legislative assembly, the same shall be subject to final adjudication of the SLP pending in this court and all the issues raised in the petition including the jurisdictional issue are kept open”, the court said.

The bench, meanwhile, decided to prepone the hearing on the appeal filed by rebel MLAs, including Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion challenging their disqualification by the speaker, on July 28.

Uttarakhand HC had earlier denied them relief.

In a sudden move, nine disqualified Congress MLAs of Uttarakhand had filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court seeking its nod for participating in the assembly session commencing from July 21.

The MLAs, in their fresh plea in a pending appeal, referred to the recent apex court judgement in the Arunachal Pradesh case in support of their petition that they cannot be disqualified by the speaker facing resolution for removal.

The Nainital High Court had upheld the decision of the Assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal to disqualify the MLAs and two sets of appeal are pending in the apex court against the disqualification.

Referring to para 175 of the landmark verdict of the Supreme Court, re-installing the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh, the MLAs have said that Article 179 (c) of the constitution disentitles the speaker against whom a resolution for removal is pending from disqualifying any member of the House.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar had said, We are satisfied, that the words 'passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly', would prohibit the Speaker from going ahead with disqualification proceedings under the Tenth Schedule, as the same would negate the effect of the words 'all the then members', after the disqualification of one or more MLAs from the House. The words all the then members, demonstrate an expression of definiteness. Any change in the strength and composition of the Assembly, by disqualifying sitting MLAs, for the period during which the notice of resolution for the removal of the Speaker (or the Deputy Speaker) is pending, would conflict with the express mandate of Article 179(c), requiring all the then members to determine the right of the Speaker to continue.

Relying on the observation, the disqualified MLAs have sought setting aside of Speaker's March 27, 2016 decision to disqualify them. Alternatively, they have sought permission to take part in the assembly session starting from July 21. The Harish Rawat government had won the floor test ordered by the apex court on May 10 in which the rebels were barred from casting their vote.

The petition filed by MLAs challenging their disqualification by speaker is pending in the SC. The court had on May 12 issued notices to the speaker and CM Rawat on the petition. After a nearly month old political drama, scenes of which even shifted to the Nainital High Court which eventually quashed the presidents rule, Harish Rawat was back in saddle as Chief Minister on May 12 as the Congress led government stormed back to power after the Supreme Court permitted the trust vote with a 33-28 victory against the BJP. The victory became easier as the apex court did not permit nine Congress rebel MLAs to vote as they had been disqualified. HC too had upheld their disqualification.

Alternatively, they have sought permission to take part in the assembly session starting from July 21. The Harish Rawat government had won the floor test ordered by the apex court on May 10 in which the rebels were barred from casting their vote.

Read the order here.