Tribunal or EC should decide on defection matters:Somnath

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Chandigarh, Sep 23 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today said the jurisdiction to deal with matters of defection should be conferred on a special tribunal or the Election Commission instead of presiding officers of the Legislative bodies.

''The jurisdiction and authority to deal with matters of defection as provided in the Tenth Schedule need not continue to be exercised by the presiding officers and the power should be conferred on some other authority like a special tribunal comprised of people well versed in law or on authority like the Election Commission,'' Mr Chatterjee said while speaking at a Symposium on 'Anti-Defection Law-Need for Review' on the concluding day of Presiding Officers' Conference here.

In this context, he pointed out that the judiciary had taken up matters where the decisions of the presiding officers under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution had been challenged and this jurisdiction had been upheld by the Supreme Court.

He said the exercise of power and jurisdiction of presiding officers of any House should not be subjected to judicial scrutiny, which ''considerably affects the status and the position of the presiding officers.'' ''With all respect to judiciary, whose jurisdiction cannot be denied, it will be fit and proper and indeed, to my mind, desirable that the presiding officers do not continue to be under such judicial scrutiny which in many cases has given rise to avoidable tension between the two constitutional authorities,'' he said.

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