The Rajasthan High Court on Monday set aside the order of the Speaker which rejected the petition submitted by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar seeking the disqualification of 6 BSP MLAs who had merged with the Congress in 2019.
A single bench of Justice Mahendar Kumar Goyal found fault with the Speaker, Dr CP Joshi, for rejecting the petition on technical grounds.
The Speaker had cited Rule 6(7) of the 6 of the Rajasthan Assembly Members (Disqualification on the Grounds of Defection) Rules of 1989.
The Court, referring to the SC precedents Speaker, Orissa Legislative Assembly vs. Utkal Keshari Parida- (2013) 11 SCC 794 and Dr. Mahachandra Prasad Singh vs. Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council & Ors.- (2004) 8 SCC 747, which held that any person interested is also entitled to bring to the notice of the Speaker the factum of disqualification incurred by any Member of the House and that the Speaker is constitutionally obliged to take a decision on receiving such a complaint, observed :
"...rejecting the disqualification application on the ground of violation of Rule 6(7) of the Rules of 1989, which does not go to the root of the matter, cannot be sustained in the eye of law. Even otherwise also, once, the factum of alleged defection was brought to the notice of the Speaker, he was under the constitutional obligation to adjudicate upon the same".
The bench also held that BSP will be entitled to raise the plea of disqualification before the Speaker.
Accordingly, the Court ordered that it expects the Speaker to take a decision on the merits of the disqualification petition within a perido of three months following the time-frame set by the Supreme Court in Keisham Meghachandra Singh vs. the Hon'ble Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly.
However, the bench refrained from adjudicating the correctness of the order passed by the Speaker in 2019 recording the merger of BSP MLAs with Congress. The Court said that it was a mere administrative order passed by the Speaker recording the claim of BSP MLAs that they had merged without Congress, without any adjudication. At that stage, the Speaker is not expected to invite objections to the merger, the Court said.
"Since, the order dated 18.9.2019 has been held to be an administrative order and not an order under paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule, this Court refrains itself from venturing into the question of its validity qua the parameters laid down therein", the bench observed.
Click here to download the order