Apex court puts off order on Amar Singh, Jaya Prada plea (Lead)

November 10th, 2010 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its order on a petition by Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh and actress-turned-MP Jaya Prada pleading that they should not attract disqualification under the anti-defection law if they defy the Samajwadi Party’s whip after their expulsion.

However, the apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph indicated that it would refer the matter to a larger bench and pass an order Monday (Nov 15).

The court said that it would also frame the issues to be addressed by the larger bench.

The court hinted at referring the matter of the larger bench when Attorney General G. Vahanvati agreed to a suggestion in this regard by the court.

Both Amar Singh and Jaya Pradha were expelled from the party for their alleged anti-party activities Feb 2. Amar Singh is a member of the Rajya Sabha and Jaya Pradha is a member of the Lok Sabha.

After their expulsion from the party, both of them have been declared as unattached parliamentarians.

Under the existing provisions of the anti-defection law both of them would forfeit their membership of the parliament if they defy the Samajwadi Party’s whip or join any other party.

The petitioners said that the application of the provisions of the anti-defection law in respect of them was violative of the basic structure of constitution.

Appearing for Amar Singh, senior counsel Harish Salve said that under the existing provisions of anti-defection law in the 10th schedule of the constitution only those MPs would attract disqualification who voluntarily give up the membership of the party they belong to or defy the whip of the party at the time of voting in the house.

He said that there could not be a situation where the petitioners (Amar Singh and Jaya Prada) have to discharge all the duties towards the party without any right. He said that such a proposition goes too far to suppress the right to free speech.

When senior counsel K.K. Venugopal appearing for Jaya Prada said that they were accountable not only to the party but also to their electorate in the constituency, the court pointed out that “you were elected on the policy and programme of the party” you represented during the election.

At this Venugopal said: “I am also voted for my performance.”

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