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29 BSP former MLAs file SLPs in SC challenging HC order

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 2 (UNI) Twenty nine of the 41 BSP MLAs who formed Loktantrik Bahujan Samaj Party (LBSP) today filed four Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) in the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court judgement of February 28 declaring the defection from their original party as illegal.

The appellants including Haji Yaqub, Shailendra Yadav, Uma Kiran, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, Rajendra Singh Rana, Mehboob Ali, Kameshwar Upadhyay and others have challenged the impugned High Court order which by a majority of 2:1 had set aside the order of Uttar Pradesh state legislative assembly speaker dated September 6 and 8 of 2003 granting them recognition as MLAs belonging to LBSP.

These MLAs had defected from the BSP headed by former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on August 26, 2003 to form a new party to facilitate the formation of the Samajwadi Party government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The petitioners have challenged the order of the High Court saying, ''when more than one third elected MLAs of a party leave their original party and form a new party, it is not covered by para 3 of the tenth schedule of the Constitution and hence, they are not hit by the provisions of anti-defection law.'' The Mayawati government had recommended the imposition of President's Rule in the state and had also recommended the dissolution of the state legislative assembly within one and a half year of elections having been held and such recommendation amounted to thrusting fresh election on a state which was already facing a financial crunch, the petitioners said.

Another question of law raised in the SLPs is whether the strength of group to be taken into account for deciding whether it was split or defection was the strength of the group on the day of the defection or the strength of the group on the day of formation of the new party.

Some of the MLAs had defected from BSP on August 26, 2003 but the assembly speaker granted them recognition on September 6, 2003 when the total strength of the MLAs was less than one third of the strength of the then undivided BSP.

The SLPs will be mentioned for an early hearing before the Supreme Court tomorrow.

The petitioners have also sought an ad-interim ex-parte stay against the impugned High Court order delivered by a three-judge Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.

UNI AKS/XC PK RP HT1930

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