New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday held that a plea seeking disqualification of members from the state assemblies for switching loyalty is maintainable at the instance of a non-member of the House.
The apex court concurred with the judgement of the Orissa High Court which had rejected the contentions of Speaker of the State Assembly that the petition filed by the state NCP chief for disqualification of four of its members for shifting loyalty to the ruling BJD was not maintainable as he was not a member in the House.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said it was "unable to agree" with the contention of the Speaker that NCP chief Utkal Keshari Parida, who was not the member of the Assembly has no locus standi to seek disqualification of four members who shifted loyalty without any notice.
The bench, also comprising, justices J Chelameswar and Vikramajit Sen dismissed the appeal filed by the Speaker against the high court`s findings which concluded that it was abundantly clear that if any Member of the House belonging to a political party had joined another political party, which is a disqualification under paragraph 2(1) of the Tenth Schedule.
The apex court concurred that any person interested could make a reference to the Speaker under Rule 6 of the 1987 Rules and it was not necessary that such a reference had to be made by a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
The four NCP MLAs -- Amar Prasad Satpathy, Ramachandra Hansdah, Prashant Nanda and Nabin Nanda -- had joined the BJD on June 5, 2012.
Parida had then filed an application before the Speaker for the disqualification but observing there was a delay in taking a decision, he had moved the high court where Speaker`s objection on maintainability of the petition was rejected.