Updated 13 Jul 2021, 7:50 pm
A division bench of the Manipur High Court comprising justice Lanusungkum Jamir and justice Ahanthem Bimol on Tuesday dismissed the petitions filed by three former MLAs who challenged the acceptance of their own resignation by the Speaker.
The High Court stated that if the resignation is genuine and voluntary, there is nothing wrong in accepting such resignation by the speaker promptly as no time limit is given under the Constitution or under the ‘Procedure and Conduct Rules’ for accepting the resignation tendered by a member of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
Three petitions were filed by three former MLAs, namely T Thangzalam Haokip, Samuel Jendai and S Subhaschandra Singh, challenging the Bulletin Part-II bearing No 36, 37 and 38 all dated June 18, 2020 issued by the secretary, Manipur Legislative Assembly that published the acceptance of the resignations tendered by the petitioners from being a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly
The petitions also challenged the notifying of the vacancy of three assembly constituencies, namely 57-Henglep (ST), 21-Naoriya Pakhanglakpa and 53-Tamenglong (ST) consequent upon their resignations, coupled with a prayer for issuing a writ of mandamus directing the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly to reconsider or revoke the acceptance of resignation they had tendered.
The petitioners stated that without holding any enquiry as contemplated under Rule 315(3) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Manipur Legislative Assembly (hereinafter referred to as ‘Procedure and Conduct Rules’), their resignations were promptly accepted. After accepting their resignations, the three impugned Bulletins were issued on June 18, 2020, publishing the acceptance of the resignation tendered by the petitioners and notifying the vacancies of three assembly constituencies, they stated.
The court stated that it did not find any material to conclude that the resignation tendered by the petitioners were not voluntary. Conversely, after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the present cases, the court had no hesitation to hold that the resignation tendered by the petitioners were genuine and voluntary.
The court observed that therefore, there is no merit in the allegations made by the petitioner that their resignation have been accepted by the Speaker in a hasty manner and that the action of the Speaker amounts to mala-fide exercise of power.
“As the acceptance of the resignation was published by issuing the impugned Bulletins and as the Bulletins were notified in the public domain by publishing in the Official Gazette, the petitioners cannot allege that no specific acceptance order was issued and communicated to them,” the HC stated in its order.
In their petitions, it was stated that the three MLAs contested in the 11th General Election of Manipur Legislative Assembly held in 2017 as BJP candidates and they were elected as members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly from the three said assembly constituencies as BJP candidates. Thereafter, all the former MLAs along with other elected candidates were sworn in as members of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly on March 19, 2017 by the Speaker.
It was stated that for the last about six months to one year prior to their tendering resignation, the petitioners felt that they had been sidelined by the present BJP-led coalition government. They alleged the government of giving more importance to some other aspiring candidates, who belonged to other parties, in taking up welfare activities in their respective assembly constituencies. Therefore, there was a lot of discontentment among the party members of their respective constituencies, as per their petitions.
It was further stated that during the political turmoil in the present BJP-led government and just before the Rajya Sabha election that was scheduled to be held on June 19, 2020, the petitioners were pressured to resign from BJP. They alleged to have been pressured by some influential party workers, who felt that their assembly constituencies have been neglected and ignored, in order to give a wrong image to the voters of the said assembly constituencies regarding the capability of the petitioners as leaders.
They stated that having no other alternatives and facing threat and pressure from some influential party workers, the petitioners were compelled to resign by writing a letter each on June 17, 2020.
It was stated that the said resignation letters were delivered to the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly in the evening of June 17, 2020 through a third party to subside the emotion of the workers of the petitioners and with the intention to withdraw the same on a later date after convincing the petitioners’ workers to continue in the BJP.
(The Imphal Free Press is now on Telegram. Join IFP News Update Group and stay updated with the latest news and impact stories)
First published:13 Jul 2021, 7:50 pm
Samuel Jendai and S Subhaschandra SinghT Thangzalam Haokip