Disqualification decision cannot drag on,says SC
New Delhi: Disqualifying 13 Uttar Pradesh MLAs, who originally belonged to the Bahujan Samaj Party but crossed the floor and later formed the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal with the defection of 24 other MLAs, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said: "It is clear [from the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution] that the object is to discourage defection which has assumed menacing proportions undermining the very basis of democracy. The position that emerges is that the Speaker has to decide the question of disqualification with reference to the date on which a member voluntarily gives up his membership or defies a whip. It is really a decision ex post facto. The fact that in terms of paragraph 6 a decision on the question has to be taken by the Speaker or the Chairman cannot lead to a conclusion that the question has to be determined only with reference to the date of the decision of the Speaker. An interpretation of that nature would leave disqualification to an indeterminate point of time and to the whims of the decision-making authority. The same would defeat the very object of enacting the law."
The Bench said: "Here, the alleged act of disqualification of the 13 MLAs took place on August 27, 2003 when they met the Governor and requested him to call the Leader of the Opposition to form the Government. The petition seeking disqualification of these 13 members based on that action of theirs has been allowed to drag on till now. The 13 MLAs, therefore, stand disqualified with effect from August 27, 2003, when they voluntarily gave up membership of the original political party."
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