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HC to hear expelled MPs' plea after Feb 16
January 31, 2006 13:50 IST
The Delhi high court today refused to entertain till February 16 an application moved by five expelled members of Parliament in the 'cash-for-queries' scandal seeking a direction to the Union government to provide them with all privileges as MPs, until their expulsion issue was resolved by the apex court.
A division bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma, while refusing to entertain the plea at this stage, however, assured that it would examine the plea after February 16 if there was no order from the Supreme Court to transfer the petitions relating to the MPs issue to itself.
The bench's refusal came after Additional Solicitor-General P P Malhotra informed the court it would not be advisable to take up the matter since the Union government had already filed an application in the Supreme Court.
The high court had earlier admitted a batch of writ petitions filed by the MPs challenging the action of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to expel them from the House based on the Pawan Bansal committee report.
Malhotra argued that since a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court was expected to take up the matter pertaining to the expulsion, it would be inappropriate for the high court to hear any petition or application at this stage.
However, senior counsel for the petitioner MPs, P N Lekhi, strongly argued that the high court could not reject the applications by merely relying on a petition filed by the Union government seeking transfer of the case to the apex court.
He pleaded that the court give at least an interim direction that the MPs be extended all privileges due to a member of Parliament until final disposal of the matter in the Supreme Court.
In their latest application filed through counsel Nawal Kishore Jha, the five MPs -- Chhatrapal Singh Lodha (Rajya Sabha), Suresh Chandel, Pradeep Gandhi, Annasahib MK Patil, and Chandra Pratap Singh -- had pleaded that till the matter was disposed of by the Supreme Court, they be allowed to sign the Parliament registry and also allowed to stay in their official, allocated residences.
The expelled MPs pleaded that if they were not allowed to sign the registry within a period of 60 days, their membership as per Parliamentary Rules would stand automatically forfeited.