SC to hear plea challenging merger of 6 BSP Rajasthan MLAs with Congress today

The six MLAs had contested and won the 2018 Assembly election on BSP tickets but they defected to Congress in September 2019

Press Trust of India August 11, 2020 07:57:03 IST
SC to hear plea challenging merger of 6 BSP Rajasthan MLAs with Congress today

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said it would hear on Tuesday the petitions filed on the issue relating to merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress in Rajasthan last year.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a BJP MLA who has challenged the Rajasthan High Court order which had refused to stay their merger with the Congress. The MLAs merged with the ruling party in the state in September last year.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that appeal filed by BJP MP Madan Dilawar would be heard along with a separate plea filed by the six MLAs.

In their plea, these six MLAs have requested the apex court to take up Dilawar's plea pending in the high court in which he is seeking their disqualification for allegedly violating the party whip.

Dilawar has challenged in the apex court the 6 August order of a division bench of high court which had disposed of his plea against the order of a single judge, who had refused to stay the functioning of these six MLAs as Congress legislators.

During the hearing conducted on Monday through video-conferencing, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Dilawar, told the apex court that in September last year the Assembly Speaker had passed an order accepting the merger.

He said that BSP has said that they have not merged.

While saying that the issue is pending before a single judge of the high court, he also referred to the plea filed by the six MLAs in the apex court. The bench said it would hear both the matters on Tuesday.

The single judge of high court had earlier not granted any interim relief and refused to put a stay on the participation of six MLAs in the proceedings of the House as Congress legislators.

Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha contested and won the 2018 assembly election on a BSP ticket but they defected to Congress in September 2019.

They had submitted an application for the merger on 16 September last year and the Speaker allowed their induction into the Congress two days later.

The merger was a boost to the Ashok Gehlot-led government as the tally of the Congress increased to 107 in the house of 200.

In their plea filed in the apex court, these six MLAs have contended that similar petitions, raising questions on disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, are pending before the Supreme Court and, therefore, the plea filed against them in the high court should be transferred to the top court.

They said the high court cannot exercise the power of judicial review in "purely political questions" but can examine questions if they emanate from a constitutional duty or obligation.

They have said in their plea that it would be in the interest of justice that the matter is transferred to the top court and heard together with similar petitions filed there.

Two petitions have been filed in the high court, one by Dilawar and the other by BSP National Secretary Satish Mishra.

Dilawar has challenged the merger of the BSP MLAs into Congress, questioning Assembly Speaker CP Joshi's order dismissing his complaint without allowing him to have his say.

Mishra has challenged the defection of the MLAs, but these legislators have not sought transfer of his plea to the Supreme Court.

On 30 July, the high court had sought the response of the Assembly Speaker and its secretary on the pleas challenging the induction of the six MLAs into the Congress.

Amid a political crisis triggered by a rebellion by Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs, the Speaker had moved the top court for a stay on the high court's order which had asked him to defer disqualification proceedings against the sacked deputy chief minister and the 18 others.

On 31 July, the Rajasthan Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi also moved the top court challenging the high court order asking the Speaker to defer disqualification proceedings.

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