Explained: Can Mukul Roy be disqualified as MLA for jumping from BJP to TMC
New Delhi, June 18: BJP leader, Suvendu Adhikari who is the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly has submitted a petition to the Speaker seeking the disqualification of Mukul Roy as MLA from the 83-Krishnanagar Uttar Assembly Constituency.
Roy had contested on a BJP ticket and won. However a month after the results were declared, he re-joined the TMC, a party he had ditched earlier. Is resigning from the party a ground for the Speaker to disqualify a member of the House? Let us see what the law on the same says.
Can an MLA who resigns be disqualified?
A member of either the Parliament or assembly can be disqualified if he voluntarily resigns from the party or defies the party's directions and either votes against the party's directions or abstains from voting in defiance of the party's whip.
The Supreme Court went on to extend the scope the law and said if a member indulges in anti-party activities without resigning from the party, then it can be inferred that he has voluntarily given up the membership of the party.
The Speaker's power:
The absolute power of the Speaker to disqualify a member has been a contentious one ever since the provision was inserted in the Indian Constitution in 1985 by the Rajiv Gandhi government. The Rajiv Gandhi inserted the 10th schedule in the Constitution that deals with the issue of disqualification of a member for changing a political party or for defying the party's direction by voting against or abstaining from voting by defying the party's whip.
The 10th schedule of the Constitution bars judicial scrutiny of the Speaker's decision to disqualify a member on account of defection or anti-party activities. The Supreme Court however struck down this provision in 1992 and held that the presiding officer's decision was open to judicial scrutiny by the High Courts and Supreme Court.