SC DISQUALIFIES 13 SPLINTER BSP LEGISLATORS

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THE Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh suffered a jolt when the supreme court on Wednesday disqualified 13 breakaway BSP MLAs supporting his coalition ministry. However, this judgement is unlikely to affect the stability of the Yadav regime as he still has the required numbers with him.

In the much-awaited judgement, the court disqualified 13 of the 37 MLAs, who later formed the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal to give the Samajwadi Party-led coalition the required numbers. The judgement will not impact adversely on the Mulayam government as the SP had the backing over 223 MLAs during the last trial of strength.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, in an unanimous decision, upheld the Allahabad high court verdict on the issue. “The speaker has committed an error that goes to the root of the matter or an error that is so fundamental, that even under a limited judicial review, the order of the speaker has to be interfered with. We have, therefore, no hesitation in agreeing with the majority of the high court in quashing the decisions of the speaker,” said Justice P K Balsubramanyan writing the verdict for the bench.

Picking holes in the illegality of the speaker’s orders, the court said, “The speaker, after he kept the determination of the question of disqualification pending, passed an order that the said petition will be dealt after the high court had taken a decision on the writ petition pending before it. Then, without any apparent reason, the Speaker took up that application even while the writ petition was pending and dismissed the same on 7.9.2005 by purporting to accept a so-called preliminary objection raised by the 13 MLAs to the effect that his recognition of the split of the 37 MLAs. including themselves, has put an end to that application.”

The bench, also comprising Justices H K Sema, A R Lakshmanan and D K Jain, dismissed the appeal filed by the 37 breakaway BSP MLAs challenging the HC verdict which had quashed the decision of then speaker Kesrinath Tripathi recognising them as a separate group and later upholding its merger with the ruling Samajwadi Party. The court had referred the matter to the speaker to be decided afresh in the light of its order.

The apex court allowed the petition filed by Swami Prasad Maurya, a BSP leader, seeking the disqualification of the 13 MLAs.

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