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Innocent Admission

Time-bound defection: Only parliament can frame laws, says SC

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New Delhi, July 1, 2021 (Agency) The Supreme Court on Thursday asked how it was possible for the top court to frame legislation, when it is in Parliament’s jurisdiction.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana made this observation during a hearing of a plea seeking directions to the Centre to lay down strict time-frame for Speakers of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies and chairperson of Rajya Sabha to decide disqualification petitions filed against MPs/ MLA for defection to other parties.

The plea filed by member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Ranajit Mukherjee also urged the court for directions of guidelines for Speakers to have an uniform process of decision-making in cases of defections across India.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that the plea has been filed for guidelines and to decide defection cases in an urgent and time-bound manner.

The bench also compromising A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy noted that the prayers sought by the petitioner fall within the domain of Parliament and the court cannot frame laws.

The bench said: “How can we frame legislation? There is a separate institution (Parliament) for that”.

The bench pointed to the counsel that the same issue was raised in the case relating to disqualification of Karnataka MLAs, which was turned down by the court.

The Chief Justice said: “I have already expressed my opinion in the Karnataka MLAs case. This issue was raised in this case also and senior advocate Kapil Sibal had advanced same argument.”

The bench added the issue was left for Parliament to decide, and asked the counsel to read the judgment in the matter and then come back to the court. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

The plea said: “These rampant and unchecked political defections for personal or political gain, hit at the root of Indian democracy, and violate the fundamental rights of Indian Citizens, under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

The petitioner had urged the court to examine mala-fide delays on the part of the Speakers of legislative assemblies while deciding issues related to political defections.

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