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Notice to Naveen in Pyari case

New Delhi, Dec. 12: The Supreme Court today sought response from the BJD supremo and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on expelled Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mahapatra’s petition complaining that no formal suspension order had been served on him rendering him ineligible to either form his own political party or participate in the parliamentary debates, including the recent FDI vote.

A bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameshwar issued the notice after Mahapatra’s counsel Suresh Chandra Tripathi, mentioned the matter before it pleading that the matter be heard by a constitution bench to deal with the issue of fundamental difference on the status of a member who is disqualified under the anti-defection laws and one who is expelled from a party.

Besides Naveen, the apex court also sought response from the parliamentary affairs secretary and the secretary general of the Rajya Sabha on the petition.

During the FDI debate in Rajya Sabha on December 6 and 7, Mahapatra said that he was not issued with the whip that was given to others belonging to the BJD.

“This had landed the petitioner in a piquant situation and as a result, the petitioner was deprived of participating in Rajya Sabha debate and consequently the voting that ensured.

“A valuable right to participate in the debate in voicing his concerns in general and exposing the double standard of BJD on the issue of FDI multi-brand retail in particular was thus snatched away,” the petition said.

The MP said that even though he was expelled 20 days ago from the party, he had not received the suspension order so far and as a result he was officially treated as Rajya Sabha member.

“As a result, Rajya Sabha treats petitioner as a member belonging to the BJD. Though expelled by the virtue of undemocratic conduct, the petitioner is made subject to the whip of the party and failure to adhere to such a whip would entail consequence of incurring disqualification under Clause 2 (1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule,” he said.