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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Lok Sabha expulsion: CJI Chandrachud to take a call on Mahua Moitra’s plea

Justice Kaul turned down the plea for urgent listing, saying: 'Let the CJI decide the request. I cannot decide the request at this stage'

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 14.12.23, 06:32 AM
Mahua Moitra.

Mahua Moitra. PTI picture

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to consider a plea for an urgent hearing of the petition filed by Trinamul Congress leader Mahua Moitra challenging her expulsion from the Lok Sabha over the cash-for-query controversy.

However, no specific date was assigned for the hearing as the CJI told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Moitra, that he would examine the request. The CJI gave the assurance after Singhvi’s initial request before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia was not accepted during the morning session.

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Singhvi had mentioned Moitra’s plea before the bench headed by Justice Kaul, the second senior-most judge, because the CJI was presiding over a five-judge constitution bench.

Justice Kaul turned down the plea for urgent listing, saying: “Let the CJI decide the request. I cannot decide the request at this stage.”

Though Justice Kaul did not specify the reason for his reluctance, the oblique reference appeared to be to his retirement on Friday.

Justice Kaul said the senior counsel could request the CJI after the conclusion of the hearing of the constitution bench.

Singhvi made a fresh request for early listing when the CJI-led bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, assembled around 12.15pm.

The CJI said he did not have the file and asked Singhvi to email his request through the registry. Singhvi said the petition was already filed on Monday. He said an email request to the registry for urgent listing was also made.

CJI Chandrachud said: “The matter may have been registered. If an email was sent, I would look at it right away. I will take a decision during lunch time.”

Moitra had filed the petition challenging her expulsion from the Lok Sabha on the recommendations of the ethics committee, which had held her guilty of “unethical conduct” and “contempt of House” for reportedly sharing her parliamentary login ID with others and for allegedly accepting gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to mount an attack on industrialist Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The expulsion had consolidated the Opposition parties led by the Congress, which questioned the manner in which she was expelled without being allowed to defend herself.

After her expulsion, Moitra had told the media: “The Lok Sabha has presided over one of the most tenacious witch-hunts of one of 78 women MPs, a first timer, a single woman with political lineage…”.

Moitra had vowed to continue her battle against the BJP government outside Parliament at least for the next 30 years.

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