Legal Correspondent

``Lists application before a larger Bench''

Speaker granted 10 days to file his response5 MLAs disqualified after they violated the LBD whip

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the order of the Uttar Pradesh Speaker disqualifying five MLAs who had re-joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal (LBD), the breakaway group of the BSP.

A vacation Bench comprising Justice A. R. Lakshmanan and Justice Altamas Kabir, however, directed that the applications of Surinder Vikram Singh, Dharampal Singh, Jaiveer Singh, Ram Krishna and Ramji Shukla questioning their disqualification be listed for hearing on July 14 before a larger Bench along with the main case. The Bench granted 10 days time to the Speaker to file his response and rejoinder, if any, before the next date of hearing.

Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey on June 10 disqualified the five LBD MLAs, after they

violated the LBD whip in the recent Rajya Sabha polls in the State. After the judgment of the Allahabad High Court quashing various orders of the Speaker, they resigned from the Mulayam Singh Yadav Ministry and the posts they held and rejoined the BSP.

Present disqualification proceedings were initiated by the Speaker on the complaint of Yogender Pratap Singh, leader of the LBD group in the Assembly.

Appearing for the five MLAs, senior counsel P.P. Rao contended that by disqualifying the five MLAs, the Speaker had violated the apex court's earlier order restraining him from taking any action against the MLAs and permitting the breakaway BSP group to function as LBD. He pleaded for protection of their status in the Assembly. Initially the strength of the breakaway group was only 13, and the BSP filed a petition before the Speaker seeking their disqualification but no action was taken.

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