Patna, Nov 20: The Patna High Court on Thursday reserved its order in a case challenging the disqualification of four rebel JD(U) MLAs from the Bihar Assembly.
Justice Jyoti Sharan reserved his order after hearing the arguments of the petitioners' counsel and JD(U) chief whip. Vinod Kanth, the counsel, argued the anti-defection law was applicable only if a party dictate had been violated in the House.
Hence, the MLAs not going with the party in voting for two Rajya Sabha seats for which bypoll was held in August did not attract the law. Additional Advocate-General Lalit Kishore appearing for Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar, who is also the Chief whip of JD(U) in the Assembly, justified the disqualification, saying by going against the party in the bypoll the MLAs violated mandate.
Senior lawyer Y V Giri appearing as counsel for State Assembly argued that the petition was not maintainable. Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary had last month ordered termination of membership of Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo (Barh), Neeraj Singh Babloo (Chhatapur), Ravindra Rai (Mahua) and Rahul Sharma (Ghosi).
The four had challenged the order in the HC. The Speaker had disqualified the four rebel JD(U) legislators as members of the Assembly on the charge of working against the party during the recent bypolls to two Rajya Sabha seats in the state.
The four have not been given status of ex-MLA in the Speaker's ruling thus depriving them of all benefits in that capacity. The MLAs were charged with working as proposers and polling agents of rebel candidates Anil Sharma, a real estate baron and expelled JD(U) leader Sabir Ali in the bypolls.
After RJD and Congress had extended support, the two official JD(U) candidates - diplomat-turned-politician Pawan Verma and Gulam Rasool Balyawi - had won from the two seats defeating the rebels.