MP: Legislature has to decide majority but ensure MLAs have free choice, says Apex Court

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 18, 2020 Published on March 18, 2020

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the proposal for producing 16 rebel MLAs of the Madhya Pradesh Congress in the judges’ chamber, and observed that they may or may not go to the Assembly but they cannot be held captive.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said it is not going to come in the way of the legislature deciding who enjoys the trust but it has to ensure that there is a free exercise of choice which these 16 MLAs can make.

The bench declined the offer of the rebel Congress MLAs saying it would not be appropriate and also refused to send its Registrar General to meet them. It then deferred the hearing to 10.30 am tomorrow.

“As a constitutional court, we have to discharge our duties,” said the bench, adding, as of now it knows that the 16 rebel MLAs in Madhya Pradesh tilt the balance one way or the other.

The bench was hearing cross petitions filed by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the political crisis in the State after 22 rebel MLAs of the ruling combine offered to resign.

The rebel MLAs told the bench that they were ready to face consequences as per the Constitution and expressed their unwillingness to meet Congress leaders.

“Speaker cannot sit on our resignations. Can he choose to accept some resignations and not others because political game is going on?”, asked the MLAs.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the MLAs, said their right to resign was constitutional and asked what was the corresponding duty of the Speaker for accepting resignations.

The plea filed by Chouhan and nine BJP lawmakers was moved in the top court just after the Speaker cited coronavirus concerns and adjourned the House till March 26 without taking the floor test apparently defying the directions of Governor Lalji Tandon.

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Published on March 18, 2020
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