HC Sets Aside Disqualification of MLAs

  • In a setback to the ruling Janata Dal (United) and its leader Nitish Kumar, the Patna High Court set aside the Bihar Assembly Speaker’s November order, disqualifying four rebel MLAs on the grounds of “anti-party activities” and “voluntary surrender of membership.”
  • After the MLAs allegedly cross-voted during the Rajya Sabha by-poll in June last, the Speaker on November 1 terminated their membership and divested them of all facilities available to legislators.
  • On November 3, Gyanendra Singh Gyanu (Barh), Neeraj Kumar Babloo (Chhatapur), Rahul Sharma (Ghoshi) and Ravindra Rai (Mahua) challenged the ruling in the High Court.
  • Justice J.P. Sharan said in his 57-page order that defection and dissent were not synonymous
  • Justice J.P. Sharan also stated in his report :what the MLAs had done during the Rajya Sabha by-poll was “dissent, and it does not come under the anti-defection law.”
  • The court also said the petitioners had not put up any candidate against JD(U) president Sharad Yadav in the by-election and even voted in his favour.
  •  Mr. Gyanu told It was Nitish Kumar on whose direction the Speaker had taken such a partial and unconstitutional decision against us, but truth prevailed.
  • Mr. Neeraj Kumar Babloo said this decision would boost the confidence of JD(U) MLAs opposed to Mr. Nitish Kumar’s “dictatorial approach.”
  • Mr. Nitish Kumar refused to comment, saying he was not aware of the verdict.
  • Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, had earlier said he did not favour the disqualification of the four MLAs
  • However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister and chief whip Shrawan Kumar, the complainant against the four MLAs, said he welcomed the verdict, but added: the points raised by us have not been heard properly.
  • The BJP termed the verdict a slap in the face of the ruling party.
  •  Sushil Kumar Modi said :It is a jolt to Mr. Nitish Kumar, too, who, through the Speaker’s decision, tried to keep his party’s minority government running.