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Anti-Defection Law: Supreme Court for tribunal on lawmakers' disqualification

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Parliament to ponder over the power of the Speaker in deciding petitions seeking disqualification of lawmakers, observing that he also belong to a political party.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 22, 2020, 08.56 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday urged Parliament to set up an independent tribunal to decide disqualification petitions within reasonable time to give teeth to the anti-defection law instead of leaving it to Speakers who continue to remain political party members either de jure or de facto.

“It is time Parliament rethinks on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto,” bench led by Justice RF Nariman said.

Parliament may seriously consider amending the Constitution to “substitute” Speakers of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies as “arbiter of disputes concerning disqualifications” which arise under the Tenth Schedule “with a permanent tribunal”.

This could be headed by a retired SC judge or a retired chief justice of a HC or some outside independent mechanism to ensure that such disputes are decided swiftly and impartially, thus giving real teeth to the provisions contained in the Tenth Schedule.

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