NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to revisit its 1996 ruling on the anti-defection law that a nominated or elected Member of Parliament of a political party is bound by its whip even after his or her expulsion.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi disposed of pleas filed by Uttar Pradesh politician Amar Singh, actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada and Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who was expelled from the BJD in 2012, terming them “infructuous”.
“The petitioner MPs have already completed their tenure. It would be more appropriate to not answer the question,” the bench, also comprising Justices P C Pant and Arun Mishra, said .
After their expulsion from the Samajwadi Party in 2010, Amar, and Jaya had moved the court fearing disqualification from the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha respectively and raised the question whether ousted lawmakers were bound by the whip of the party on whose ticket they got elected in the light of the 1996 verdict.
The ruling may have direct impact on lawmakers expelled by parties such as AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa as she can be tried under the anti-defection law if she defies a party whip.
Amar and Jaya had sought an interim stay on any possible action against them if they decided to vote in favour of the Women’s Reservation Bill to which the SP is fiercely opposed to. They had argued that the interpretation of the anti-defection law, as per 1996 ruling in the G Vishwanathan case, didn’t apply to them as they had neither resigned from the party nor floated one on their own. The case was referred to a larger bench after then Attorney General G E Vahanvati agreed that the court judgment in the Vishwanathan case was not clear on certain aspects.
As per the 1996 interpretation of the anti-defection law, a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after his or her expulsion. The court had interpreted the 10th schedule of the Constitution that doesn’t recognise unattached MPs/MLAs impinged upon expelled members’ fundamental rights, including those to equality, free speech and life under articles 14, 19 and 21 respectively.