Amar Singh and Jaya Prada move Supreme Court for freedom of speech
RAKESH BHATNAGAR IN DNA INDIA
Feeling gagged by the interpretation of the anti-defection law of 1996 that a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after his/her expulsion, sacked Samajwadi Party MPs Amar Singh and Jaya Prada have moved the Supreme Court. Amar and Jaya have said that expulsion for alleged anti-party activities has curtained their freedom of speech, a key right for any lawmaker. They are aggrieved by the interpretation of the tenth schedule offered by SC in a case in 1996 which impinges upon fundamental rights of expelled members, including rights under articles 14, 19 and 21.As per the interpretation, expelled members continue to belong to their erstwhile parties even when they are treated as “unattached”. For the purposes of the tenth schedule, they will not cease to be members of the political party that set them up as a candidate for an election. An SC bench headed by then justice AM Ahmadi had said that labelling a member “unattached” found no place in the tenth schedule.
Dealing with the expression “deem” in the law, the bench said the deeming fiction must be given full effect, otherwise the expelled member would escape the rigour of the law which was intended to curb defections.It means that an MP or an MLA even if expelled is “deemed” member of the party that had nominated him until he ceases to be a lawmaker.
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