8 Dec 2021 10:44 AM GMT
The Supreme Court today set aside an order of disqualification passed by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly disqualifying Keshtrimayum Biren Singh, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh and Sanasam Biren Singh from the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.Opining that since the order passed by the Speaker has been set aside, the bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela...
The Supreme Court today set aside an order of disqualification passed by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly disqualifying Keshtrimayum Biren Singh, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh and Sanasam Biren Singh from the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
Opining that since the order passed by the Speaker has been set aside, the bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi also allowed the MLA's to continue representing the Electorate in the house of the Legislative Assembly till disposal of the matter by the Speaker.
"We allow the appeal, set aside the order of the High Court & restore the matter pending before the speaker to be decided afresh without being influenced by earlier orders or the one that was passed by the HC. Since the order passed by the Speaker has now been set aside, till the matter has been disposed of by the Speaker, the MLA shall continue to represent the electorate in the house of Legislative Assembly," the bench noted in its order.
The Top Court further requested the Speaker to consider disposing of the matter as early as possible and in accordance with the law.
Earlier the Top Court had issued notice in the Special Leave Petition challenging the Manipur High Court's order of upholding the speaker's decision of disqualifying them from the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
On the issue of the disqualification petitions being postponed from June 22, 2020, to June 18, 2020, the bench observed that the matter did not give any reason for emergency, no parties were represented before the Speaker, and that the matter required leading evidence.
"With the assistance of the learning parties, it is quite clear that the petitions were directed to be taken up for 22/06/2020 but were preponed to 18/06/2020. Without going into the question as to whether the preponement was in parties knowledge, the matter does not give any reason for emergency and no parties were represented before the Speaker and that the matter required leading of evidence," the bench observed in its order.
Remarking that, "The question whether merely reporting in the newspaper could be taken as sufficient proof of voluntary membership of the party and the evidence had to be gone into by the speaker", the Top Court also observed that the matter demanded leading of evidence and giving an opportunity to the parties to present their case evidence.
Advocate(s) SK Bhattacharya and Niraj Bobby Paonam represented the MLA's.
Advocate Dama Seshadri Naidu, assisted by Advocates Shivali Chaudhary, Ananvaya Anandvardhan, Siddharth Chapalgaonkar, and Aneesh Shah represented the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly
The petitioners had approached the Manipur High Court challenging the common order dated June 18, 2020 passed by the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly, in Disqualification Case(s) disqualifying the petitioner(s) for being a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly in terms of Para 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India read with Article 191 (2) of the Constitution of India w.e.f. June 18, 2020 till the expiry of the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur as well as the bulletin part-II No. 40 dated June 18, 2020 issued by the Secretary, Manipur Legislative Assembly, notifying the vacancy of the 8-Lamlai Assembly Constituency consequent upon the disqualification of the writ petitioner from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly w.e.f. June 18, 2020.
The MLA's were disqualified on the ground that they along with another MLA of the Indian National Congress Shri Paonam Brojen had given up their membership voluntarily and had given their support to the ruling party i.e Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the purpose of strengthening the coalition Government led by the BJP.
It was also alleged that MLA's along with other MLA's of INC was facilitated by performing a reception ceremony hosted on July 15, 2017 by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri N. Biren Singh and that the said reception ceremony was covered and published in many Local/National Newspapers and Electronic media.
It was also further alleged that the MLA's had participated in various political works and programs hosted by the BJP by wearing the apparel meant for the BJP and such programs in which the they participated were reported in the public domain in various Local/National Newspapers and electronic media and that in view of such acts, it was beyond any doubt that the petitioners had voluntarily given up their membership of the I.N.C and committed a Constitutional act of defection under Para 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
What Was The Manipur High Court Order
The Manipur High Court while upholding the Speaker's decision had observed that, "In the absence of denial by the writ petitioner of the existence and authenticity of the newspapers and as there is also no denial of the reports made in the newspapers about the factum of the writ petitioner participating in the reception ceremony organized by the BJP and being facilitated by the BJP leaders on his voluntarily giving up the membership of the Indian National Congress Party and joining the BJP, the question of admissibility of the reports contained in the newspapers as a piece of evidence has virtually lost its relevance. Accordingly, we are also of the considered view that the judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court cited by the learned Senior counsel for the petitioner has also no application in the facts and circumstances of the present case."
Case Title: Shri Kshetrimayum Biren Singh V. The Honble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly And Ors.| Yengkhom Surchandra Singh V. The Honble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly And Ors| Sanasam Bira Singh V. The Hon'ble Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly And Ors.
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