SC gives week to Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker to speak
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker to inform it by next week when he would decide the disqualification petitions against 22 Congress MLAs who joined the BJP and brought down the Kamal Nath government.
A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, while hearing a plea filed by Congress MLA Vinay Saxena, said the “Speaker has to only make a statement as to when these applications will be decided”.
At the outset, senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for Saxena, said that the disqualification petitions were pending with Speaker Rameshwar Sharma since March 12. Tankha said the Speaker had to pass an order on the disqualification petitions, otherwise some of the defectors would continue to be ministers in the state government.
“We want that the Speaker should decide these petitions within a week,” Tankha said.
The bench noted that a letter for adjournment of the hearing of the matter had been circulated among the parties.
The counsel appearing for the Vidhan Sabha secretariat said they had been served the copy of the petition only on Monday evening and that they would need three weeks to respond.
“We understand the request for time but you only have to make a statement when it will be decided,” the court said.
The counsel replied that he was appearing for the Vidhan Sabha secretariat, not the Speaker.
The bench observed: “We don’t see any practical difference between the Vidhan Sabha and the Speaker.”
The counsel for the Vidhan Sabha then sought two weeks’ time to respond.
The court asked the lawyers who among them was appearing for the Speaker. A lawyer replied that he was to appear for the Speaker but had been discharged on Monday.
The bench then posted the matter for next week and said the Speaker should make a statement on deciding the disqualification applications.
On August 17, the top court had sought the response of the Speaker’s office on Saxena’s plea contending that the Congress MLAs who had resigned to join the BJP could not be appointed as ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government during the pendency of their disqualification proceedings.
The plea had said that as per the apex court verdict in a case relating to Manipur, the disqualification proceedings had to be decided within three months by the Speaker.
It had said that during the pendency of these disqualification applications, 12 of the 22 Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh had been appointed as ministers.