New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday quashed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order which had restrained five Haryana Janhit Congress MLAs from joining the ruling Congress and "effectively functioning as state legislators."
A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir, however, asked the Haryana legislative assembly speaker to decide on MLAs` disqualification within three months.
The court`s order came on two petitions, respectively by the Haryana assembly speaker and some of the aggrieved MLAs, against the high court`s December 20, 2011 verdict, which had declared five MLAs to unattached, belonging neither to the Congress nor to Haryana Janhit Congress and had barred them from holding any office.
The high court had passed the order on Haryana Janhit Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi`s petition against the Haryana assembly speaker`s decision to treat the alleged defection by five of his party MLAs as merger of his entire party with the ruling Congress party.
"In our view, the high Court had no jurisdiction to pass such an order, which was in the domain of the Speaker. The high court assumed the jurisdiction which it never had in making the interim order which had the effect of preventing the five MLAs in question from effectively functioning as members of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha," the apex court said while interpreting various provisions of the civil procedure code (CPC).
The apex court on January 4 had stayed the December 20, 2011 judgement of the high court on a Special Leave Petition (SLP) by the Haryana assembly speaker and some of the aggrieved MLAs, questioning the verdict.
Referring to the assembly speaker`s petition directing him to decide Bishnoi`s disqualification application, the apex court said, "The direction given by the learned single judge to the speaker, as endorsed by the division bench, is, therefore, upheld to the extent that it directs the speaker to decide the petitions for disqualification of the five MLAs within a period of four months.
"The said direction shall, therefore, be given effect to by the speaker. The remaining portion of the order disqualifying the five MLAs from effectively functioning as members of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha is set aside.
"The said five MLAs would, therefore, be entitled to fully function as Members of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha without any restrictions, subject to the final decision that may be rendered by the speaker in the disqualification petitions filed under paragraph 6 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.