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Rajasthan BSP Legislature party’s merger with Congress: SC to hear pleas on Aug. 11

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to urgently hear a plea by Rajasthan BJP MLA Madan Dilawar challenging the State High Court’s refusal to stay the decision of Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi to recognise the ‘merger’ of six BSP MLAs with the Congress.

During the hearing, the Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra learnt that the six BSP MLAs have also separately approached the apex court. They have sought a transfer of the case filed by Mr. Dilawar in the High Court accusing them of defection. He has asked for their disqualification from the House.

“We will hear both cases [Mr. Dilawar's petition and the transfer plea by the BSP MLAs] tomorrow”, Justice Mishra.

The court ordered both cases to be listed together for hearing on August 11.

In his petition, Mr. Dilawar contended that the High Court issued notices to the BSP MLAs rather than stay the Speaker’s decision accepting the merger in September 2019.

Mr. Joshi had dismissed a complaint filed by Mr. Dilawar for disqualification of the six MLAs. He had accused them of voluntarily relinquishing their BSP membership to “defect” to the Congress. The move fell flat when the Speaker dismissed it for non-compliance of the Rajasthan Legislative Members (Disqualification on the ground of defection) Rules of 1989.

In their transfer plea, the six MLAs, led by Lakhan Singh, argued that a merger of two legislative parties in the House was protected under Paragraph 4(2) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

No defection: MLAs

According to Paragraph 4(2), a merger is not defection if two-thirds of the members of the legislature party has agreed to it. The MLAs said the BSP’s legislature party were a total of six in the Assembly and all of them had agreed to the move. Hence, there is no defection.

The MLAs have asked the Supreme Court to call forth the petition from the High Court and decide the “substantial question of law” as to whether “the original political party needs to merge apart from the merger of the legislative party” to gain the protection of Paragraph 4(2).

“All the six persons, being the entire Legislative Party of the BSP merged with the Legislature Party of the Indian National Congress (INC), and the same came to be recognised by the Order of the Hon’ble Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on September 18, 2019”, their petition in the Supreme Court said.

“The entire basis for the writ petition [of Mr. Dilawar] pending before the High Court is that there has been no merger between the BSP and the INC. It is submitted that the Speaker of the Legislature, while acting under Paragraph 4(2), is not concerned with the happenings outside the legislature, so long as two-thirds of the legislature party has accepted the merger as contemplated”, they contended.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 5:35:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-bsp-legislature-partys-merger-with-congress-sc-to-hear-pleas-on-aug-11/article32315969.ece

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