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Law Has To Evolve To Address Poaching Of Legislators : SC

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
14 April 2020 12:21 PM GMT
Law Has To Evolve To Address Poaching Of Legislators : SC
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"The spectacle of rival political parties whisking away their political flock to safe destinations does little credit to the state of our democratic politics", Court observed.

The Supreme Court, while upholding the Madhya Pradesh Governor's direction to hold floor test in the state legislative assembly, observed that law may have to evolve to address the issues like poaching of law makers, horse trading, political bargaining etc."The spectacle of rival political parties whisking away their political flock to safe destinations does little credit to the state of...

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The Supreme Court, while upholding the Madhya Pradesh Governor's direction to hold floor test in the state legislative assembly, observed that law may have to evolve to address the issues like poaching of law makers, horse trading, political bargaining etc.

"The spectacle of rival political parties whisking away their political flock to safe destinations does little credit to the state of our democratic politics", Court observed.

Terming such practises of poaching, political bargaining and horse-trading as 'burgeoning evils', Justice DY Chandrachud observed that breakdown in the composition and allegiances of the political party due to private allurements offered to members is being increasingly seen.

The Court was addressing the submissions made by Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhwi that the twenty-two Members who have been elected on the ticket of the INC were 'spirited away' to Bengaluru. It was alleged that these Members were escorted to Bengaluru from the high security areas of a domestic airport under the watchful gaze of BJP leader. 

In Para 45 of the judgment, the court observed.

The spectacle of rival political parties whisking away their political flock to safe destinations does little credit to the state of our democratic politics. It is an unfortunate reflection on the confidence which political parties hold in their own constituents and a reflection of what happens in the real world of politics. Political bargaining, or horse-trading, as we noticed, is now an oft repeated usage in legal precedents. 'Poaching' is an expression which was bandied about on both sides of the debate in the present case. It is best that courts maintain an arm's length from the sordid tales of political life. In defining constitutional principle, however, this Court must be conscious of the position on the ground as admitted by Counsel of both sides and an effort has to be made to the extent possible to ensure that democratic values prevail. An underlying assumption of the anti-defection scheme outlined in the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution is that the political party is the defined political unit which the Constitution recognises. Where we increasingly see a breakdown in the composition and allegiances of the political party due to private allurements offered to Members as opposed to public policy considerations, the law may have to evolve to address these burgeoning evils. 

The Court, while refusing the plea that the vote of confidence should be held only in the presence, directed the Director Generals of Police, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, to ensure that there shall be no restraint or hindrance whatsoever on any of the sixteen MLAs taking recourse to their rights and liberties as citizens. In the event that they or any of them opt to attend the session of the Legislative Assembly,arrangements for their security shall be provided by all the concerned authorities.


Case Details
Title : Shivraj Singh Chouhan v Speaker, Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly
Coram : Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta
Appearances : Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi (for petitioner), Senior Adv Kapil Sibal (for Kamal Nath), Senior Adv Dr A M Singhvi (for Speaker), Sr Adv Vivek Tankha (for MP Government), Solicitor General Tushar Mehta (for MP Governor).

Click here to read/download judgment

 

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