SC sets aside Manipur Speaker’s order disqualifying three MLAs for defection to BJP
The Supreme Court also allowed the three MLAs to continue representing the electorate in the house of the Legislative Assembly till the disposal of the matter by the Speaker.
Updated on 10 Dec 2021, 5:16 am
(PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)
The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside an order of disqualification passed by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly disqualifying Kshetrimayum Biren, Yengkhom Surchandra and Sanasam Biren from the term of 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur for alleged defection to BJP.
The bench of justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi remanded the petition for disqualification to Speaker Y Khemchand Singh, who is required to decide it afresh. The bench also allowed the three MLAs to continue representing the electorate in the house of the Legislative Assembly till the disposal of the matter by the Speaker.
The SC further requested the Speaker to consider disposing of the matter as early as possible and in accordance with the law.
The three MLAs - Kshetrimayum Biren Singh, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh, and Sanasam Bira Singh - challenged the order passed by the Manipur High Court on June 2, 2021, upholding the June 2020 decision of the Speaker to disqualify them.
The three MLAs had been elected to the Assembly in 2017 on Congress party tickets. However, it was alleged that they gave up their membership of the party and supported the ruling BJP for the purpose of strengthening the coalition government in the state.
Disqualification petitions came to be filed against them before the Speaker. Their conduct, including their participation in various BJP events, was shown as proof that they had defected to BJP. The Speaker had allowed the petitions on June 18, 2020.
Earlier, the SC had issued a notice in the special leave petition challenging the High Court of Manipur order to uphold the Speaker’s decision of disqualifying them from the term of the 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
On the issue of the disqualification petitions being postponed from June 22, 2020, to July 18, 2020, the bench observed that the matter did not give any reason for emergency, no parties were represented before the Speaker, and the matter required leading evidence.
The MLAs were disqualified on the ground that they along with another MLA of the Indian National Congress Paonam Brojen had given up their membership voluntarily and had given their support to the BJP for the purpose of strengthening the coalition government led by the BJP.
The High Court of Manipur in its judgment held that the Speaker had passed the disqualification order after taking into consideration all the pleadings, newspaper reports, and photographs and DVDs filed in connection with the disqualification cases. The MLAs had not disputed the authenticity of such reports, the High Court further noted.
It, therefore, ruled that the orders of the Speaker were in accordance with the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India and did not call for any interference. The MLAs thus approached the Supreme Court in an appeal against this order.