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Amid Maharashtra crisis, SC moved for 5-year bar on disqualified, resigned MLAs

New Delhi, June 22, 2022- Amid the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, an application has been moved, in a pending case in the Supreme Court, seeking direction for an up to 5 year bar on MLAs, who are either disqualified from the state Assemblies or have resigned.

The plea said: “Recently, June 18, 2022 to June 22, 2022, same thing is repeated in the state of Maharashtra. These political parties again try to destroy the democratic fabric of our country. Therefore, immediate direction of this court is necessary as prayed in this application for direction.”

The plea by Jaya Thakur, a Congress leader from Madhya Pradesh, was filed in a pending petition filed by her in 2021, where the apex court in January 2021, sought the Centre’s response. “That respondents have not filed a counter affidavit to till date, in spite of the sufficient opportunity granted by this court. The political parties are taking disadvantage of this situation and continuously destroying the elected governments in various states of our country,” the plea said.

The plea argued that of late, there is a concerted pan India effort by political parties to render the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution otiose and redundant.

It added that once a member of the House incurs disqualification under the Tenth Schedule, he/she cannot be permitted to contest again during the term for which he/she was elected. “Article 172 makes a membership of a House co terminus with the term of 5 years of the House except in circumstances mentioned therein. That once 10th Schedule comes into play and a seat falls vacant due to disqualification then that particular disqualified member of the House has to incur disability under Article 191 (1) (e ) and will be debarred from being chosen again during the term for which he/she was elected,” it added.

The plea added that in 2019, in Karnataka, 17 MLAs who resigned/were disqualified by the Speaker for anti-party activities, sought reelection and 11 of them got re-elected. Ten of them got ministerial berths in the new government that was formed after the earlier government fell, it added. “There is a growing trend of Speakers acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral. Additionally, political parties are indulging in horse trading and corrupt practices, due to which citizens are denied a stable government. Such undemocratic practices need to be curbed,” it added.

The petitioner urged the top court to restrain those MLAs from contesting the election up to five years, from the date of his/her resignation/disqualification from the Assembly.

In the 2021 petition, it was pointed out that political parties attempt to render the provisions of Tenth Schedule redundant by making MLAs of ruling party resign from the House, which leads to collapse of the government.

 

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