Mere reminding the Hon’ble Speaker to discharge his obligation to consider and take a decision on the petition filed for disqualification does not amount to judicial review, the court said.
Upholding a single bench order that directed the Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly to decide the disqualification petition against JD(s) MLAs, a division bench of the Karnataka High Court observed that it has power to request the Speaker to dispose of the disqualification petition at the earliest in the interest of justice and to maintain majesty of the office of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
The division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav, disposing of the appeal filed by the Speaker, observing that the single judge has only reminded him to discharge his constitutional obligation and there is no question of interference by the high court with the exclusive power of the Speaker as contemplated under Tenth schedule.
“Mere reminding the Hon’ble Speaker to discharge his obligation to consider and take a decision on the petition filed for disqualification does not amount to judicial review,” the bench said.
The court further observed that in this case, the Speaker has not discharged his constitutional obligations in not deciding a disqualification petition filed two years ago. “The confidence placed by the citizens of the State in the “High Tradition” of the High Office of the Speaker, as in practice, been found to be misplaced. Thereby he has not discharged his institutional responsibility and obligation, as contemplated under Schedule X of the Constitution of India,” the bench said.
Upholding the single bench order, the court said: “Admittedly in the present case, the life of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly is almost over. The next election would be held on 12.05.2018. Still the Hon’ble Speaker has not discharged his constitutional duty and obligation to decide the petition filed under Rule 6(2) of the Rules for disqualification as contemplated under the provisions of paragraph 6 of the Tenth Schedule till today. Therefore, the learned Single Judge was justified in requesting the Speaker to decide the application and pass orders.”
Taking note of the memo filed on behalf of the Speaker that he will finally dispose of the petition before 27th May, the bench modified the direction issued by the single bench to decide the disqualification petition on or before 7th May. The Court also expunged some remarks made against the Speaker in the judgment by the single judge.
“Having regard to the principles of democracy and the intent of the Parliament in introducing the Tenth Schedule in the Constitution to strengthen the faith, trust and confidence in the system, we hope and trust that the Hon’ble Speaker shall decide the disqualification Petition expeditiously,” the court observed.