Chandigarh Dec. 20 , By Y S Rana : Mr. Justice Ajay Tiwari of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha to decide within 4 months the disqualification petitions filed by Sh. Kuldeep Bishnoi MLA President Haryana Janhit Congress against 5 MLAs who had defected from Haryana Janhit Congress to Congress (I) in November, 2009, immediately after the elections to Haryana Vidhan Sabha. It may be recalled that all these 5 MLAs, namely Sat Pal Sangwan, Vinod bhayana, Narender Singh, Zile Singh and Dharam Singh, had been elected to Haryana Vidhan Sabha on the ticket of the Haryana Janhit Congress but later on, on November 9, 2009, they left Haryana Janhit Congress and joined the Congress.
Mr. Satya Pal Jain, Senior Advocate with Mr. Dheeraj Jain and Davesh Moudgil counsel for the petitioner had submitted that though Sh. Bishnoi had filed the disqualification petitions against these 5 MLAs on December 16, 2009 but the speaker was taking long time to decide them. During one year the Speaker failed even to get reply from these 5 MLAs, though as per Anti-Defection Rules, the reply was to be filed within 7 days. He had submitted that either the High Court should itself decide the disqualification petition or the Speaker be directed to do the same within a reasonable time.
Mr. Mohan Jain Additional Solicitor General of India with Sh. Kamal Nehra, Counsel for the Speaker had submitted that though the High Court cannot interfere in the working of the Speaker, yet the Speaker is ready to decide the case without unnecessary delay. He denied malafides against the Speaker and said that the Speaker is neutral in this case.
Mr. Harbhagwan Singh Senior Advocate with Sh. Arun Walia counsel for the 5 MLAs said that the High Court has no power to give any direction to the Speaker to decide the case within any particular time. He said that the Speaker is a big Constitutional Authority and it is only he who has to decide his time frame under the 10th Scheduled to the Constitution of India.
Justice Tiwari held that, “It must be remembered that all such discussion on the powers of immunity from judicial review is subject to two basic principles; firstly that justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done; and secondly that no person, howsoever high – in this case respondent No. 1 – ‘notwithstanding that he enjoys a very high status and position of great respect and esteem in the Parliamentary Traditions and is the embodiment of propriety and impartiality’ – can be above the law.”
He further held that, “It cannot also be forgotten that the present government initially earned legitimacy only after the addition of respondents No. 3 to 7 to its ranks. Had they not joined up, the present government could not have been formed. For this reason, an adjudication on these petitions under Article 191 of the constitution cannot be limited only to law but to the essential concept of democracy. If it is found that respondents No. 3 to 7 have incurred disqualification, the very existence of the government would be in jeopardy.”
Allowing the writ petition, Justice Tiwari held, “This Court is of the considered opinion that the present is a case where judicial intervention is justified even during the trial of the petitions, filed by the petitioner, and issue a direction to respondent No.1 to decide the said petitions within a fixed time frame.”