Kerala High Court sets aside disqualification of former Chief Whip P.C George [Read Judgment]

Kerala High Court sets aside disqualification of former Chief Whip P.C George [Read Judgment]

The High Court of Kerala has on Monday, revoked the order of disqualification imposed on former Chief Whip Mr P.C George  by the speaker, as a legislator in the Kerala Assembly.

Mr George was disqualified by the speaker , pursuant to a complaint made by his party Kerala Congress (M) stating that he had evaded/ defied his party whip on numerous occasions.To avoid disqualification, Mr George had submitted his resignation from the assembly, much before the Speaker could take a decision on the complaint.

Setting aside the order of disqualification, Justice Chitambaresh in P.C George v The Hon’ble Speaker and another [W.P(c) 37428/2015] opined that speaker ought to have considered the letter of resignation dated 12/11/15 handed over to him personally in hand by Mr George ; prior to taking action against him on 13/11/15 based on the complaint.

The Court opined that “ the petitioner had a constitutional right to tender his resignation in order to have his seat vacated under Article 190(3)(b) of Constitution of India”. It further added that in such circumstances, the speaker was bound to consider such letter of resignation, to determine whether it is tendered voluntarily or genuine before taking any action on the complaint made against Mr George.The Court observed that “the constitutional right of the petitioner as a member of the assembly to have his letter of resignation considered has been trampled upon. It was a mala fide action on the part of the speaker to keep the letter of resignation put in by petitioner pending and disqualifying him in the interregnum.”

The Court held ,that the moment resignation was tendered by Mr George, he ceased to be a member of the house. Being so, the letter of resignation , having thus having vacated the office of the assembly ,has only to be thrown into the dust bin since the same has become infructous.

On the point of alleged disqualification if any incurred by Mr George ,Court remarked as follows “ I do not for a moment hold that the petitioner has not incurred disqualification on account of voluntarily giving up his membership in his politicial party in the circumstances obtaining.But I am of the firm view that a decision on that count was unnecessary and unwarranted in the wake of the fact that the petitioner had put in his resignation before.” The court further supplemented that “ the decision of the speaker as regards the disqualification for being a member of the Legislative Assembly cannot have any retroactive operation even if it was incurred long back.”

Read the Judgment here.