Amarinder’s expulsion from assembly referred to constitution bench

February 11th, 2009 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday referred the issue of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh’s expulsion from the state assembly last year to a five-judge constitution bench for examination of its legality.
A bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal, Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Aftab Alam referred the matter to the constitution bench, dimming the hopes and possibility of an early restoration of Singh’s membership to the House.

The five-judge constitution bench will examine if a member of the house could be expelled from it on the basis of his alleged wrongs committed by him during his discharge of his executive duties during his tenure in an earlier house.

Singh’s counsel K. Parasaran made a plea for restoration of his membership to the house, pending a decision on the legality of the Sep 10, 2008 order of the assembly speaker.

“The leader of opposition (Singh) continues to be sitting outside the house,” said Parasaran. But the bench expressed helplessness over the plea.

The bench had Oct 3 stopped the assembly from declaring Singh’s Patiala Town seat vacant following his expulsion Sep 10.

While stopping the poll panel from holding a by-election on the seat as per the assembly directions, the bench had refused to suspend Singh’s expulsion saying the court might be able to ascertain the legality or otherwise of the move before the next seating of the assembly in February 2009.

But with the legal and constitutional issues involved in the matter, the bench Wednesday had to refer the matter to a larger constitution bench.

The Punjab assembly had expelled Singh after its nine-member panel found him guilty of causing pecuniary loss worth millions of rupees to the exchequer by exempting from taxation a 32-acre plot of Amritsar Improvement Trust, allocated to a private builder during his tenure as chief minister before the present assembly’s term.

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