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YCP Viajysai Reddy Pvt Member Bill in RS seeks to end defections

Wed, Jul 13, 2016, 01:06 PM
The YCP leader, Viajayasai Reddy, plans to introduce a private member's bill in Parliament seeking to amend Article 361b insofar as it impinges on the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. The Article provision bans holding an office of profit by a member of the House.

Vijaysai's purpose in introducing the Bill is to end the menace of defections in the country, particularly the Telugu States.

The new MP sent a copy of his amendment to the Rajya Sabha Secretary-General, urging him to introduce it in the agenda of the House in the Monsoon Session.

Vijaysai Reddy on Wednesday released the letter to the press. It reads:

The Constitution (52" Amendment) Bill, 1985, was enacted to curb the political evil of defections vis-a-vis provided for disqualification of any elected Member of a House. There are various instances in the recent past wherein defections on a large-scale have occurred in various legislatures resulting in applications being filed in accordance with the rules before the Speaker, seeking disqualification of such elected Members.

Most such defections are from the opposition party to the ruling party whereby the number of elected Members in the House, in support of the ruling party, swells. Instances wherein the aggrieved political party files an application before the Speaker for disqualifying such defecting elected Members, have been kept pending for years, without any progress until the end of the Tenure of the House, have been on the rise. There has been a criticism of such conduct of the Speakers for not acting expeditiously on such applications seeking disqualification, since continuance of such members in the House would be in derogation of the intent and express provisions of the Tenth Schedule.

In the instances, in the Legislatures of Hyderabad after the 2014 General Elections, in spite of petitions for disqualification having been filed with the Speaker, no further steps are taken up for concluding the process. Thus, though the elected members of the House, compromise the electoral faith of the electors by defecting to another political party, they continue to be the Members of the House, until the tenure of the House comes to an end.

Such Members are rewarded with positions in Government and other public posts in the absence of prohibition on any defector to hold any public office as a Minister or any other remunerative political post during the pendency of the petition of disqualification initiated against such Member, thus rendering nugatory article 361B of the Constitution.

Article 361 B bars disqualified Members from such position of office, consequent on disqualification, for the remaining of the tenure of the House, or until the next fresh elections. Therefore, a Member who consciously defects, contrary to the intent of the Tenth Schedule, is thus rewarded with public office, pending final adjudication, and after final adjudication, is enabled to contest in the by-elections and be a Member of the very Legislature in the very same tenure, in which he is disqualified. The bar on re-election of such Member shall extend to remainder of the Tenure of the House.

The remedy of approaching the Law Courts seeking a direction to the Speaker to expeditiously and within a timeframe dispose of the said applications have been rendered futile, in view of the judicial dicta limiting Court’s interference only after the final decision is made by the Speaker.

A Division Bench of the High Court at Hyderabad in its decision reported in 2016(2) ALD 393 in Writ Appeal Nos. 158 of 2015 has held that having regard to the institutional deference of the Courts to the Constitutional authority of the Speaker, no directions could be given to the Speaker to expeditiously to dispose of the applications filed for disqualification of elected Members.

It is therefore proposed to amend the paragraph 6 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution to provide for a mandatory time frame for the disposal of the petitions filed before the Speaker/Chairman of the House. Such a mandatory time frame would ensure sustenance of the electors' faith in the democratic process of elections apart from upholding the majesty of the House. The time frame and the remedy for judicial redressal in case of inaction, would be consistent with the view of the Supreme Court as regards the power of the Speaker being of a “Tribunal” with judicial powers of adjudication and also the areas of judicial review under articles 32, 136, 226 and 227, held to be permissible quia timet of the proceedings of the Tenth Schedule.

This Bill Seeks to achieve the above objectives.

Agency: Ap7am Desk

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