Kapil Sibal to SC: delay in hearing MLAs disqualification cases make them infructuous, cites MP bypolls

New Delhi, Nov 4 : Senior advocate Kapil Sibal on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that some element of urgency is required for cases of disqualification, under the Tenth Schedule. Sibal’s comments came as the top court disposed of the plea that dealt with the issue of pendency of disqualification proceedings against Congress MLAs who switched to BJP and were appointed as ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh, after it was informed bypolls have been held in the state, as a consequence the matter has become infructuous.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian was informed by Sibal, representing petitioner Congress MLA Vinay Saxena, that bypolls for 28 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh have been held on Tuesday.

Sibal added after the bypolls their fate will be decided through the poll. But, Sibal did not mince words in expressing his dissatisfaction over the delay in deciding the matter. “The delay from March to November has rendered the matter infructuous,” he added.

Sibal expressed anguish over the delay in the hearing of such matter and cited that similar cases in other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa etc. have been pending for long. He told the bench that disqualification cases need to be taken up on priority, and insisted that some element of urgency should be attached while taking up matters connected with the Tenth Schedule.

“Such matters become infructuous as time is sought by counsel. Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu matters are all languishing. These are serious matters,” said Sibal.

The bench replied that time is sought by both sides, but the court will bear in mind and reject requests for adjournment.

Sibal submitted before the bench that the Tamil Nadu matter is pending for close three and half years and it may finally become infructuous.

The Chief Justice replied, “We are not to blame for that… You (lawyers) seek time… Anyway, we will bear this in mind.”

The top court on September 22, had asked the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker to inform the court when he will decide the disqualification petitions against 22 Congress MLAs who switched to BJP. The response from the top court came on the plea of Saxena who contended that Congress MLAs, cannot be appointed as ministers in the BJP government, during the pendency of the disqualification proceedings against them.

The plea had cited top court ruling in Manipur case, that the Speaker should decide the disqualification proceedings within a period of three months.


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