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Three BSP MPs from Uttar Pradesh disqualified
January 29, 2008 18:39 IST
Three Bahujan Samaj Party members of the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh have been disqualified on grounds of defection to the Samajwadi Party, giving a boost to the Mayawati-led outfit in the electorally crucial state.
Those disqualified by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee are Bhalchandra Yadav (Khalilabad), Ramakant Yadav (Azamgarh) and Mohammad Shahid Akhlaque and their seats in the House have been declared vacant.
Petitions for their disqualification were filed by the BSP under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) on the ground that the three MPs had voluntarily given up the membership of their party and joined the Samajwadi Party.
The Speaker referred the BSP petitions to the Privileges Committee, which inquired into the complaint and gave its findings. Later Chatterjee himself heard the MPs and the petitioner personally before giving his decision.
This is third major disqualification by the Lok Sabha Speaker after the coming into force of the anti-defection law in 1985. The first instance was the disqualification of 8 MPs in 1991 by the then Speaker Rabi Ray. The disqualified members had sided with the late Chandrashekhar, who had split the Janata Dal, and formed a government after the fall of the V P Singh government.
In the next instance, Speaker Shivraj Patil disqualified four MPs belonging to the Ajit Singh faction of Janata Dal, which had rescued the minority P V Narasimha Rao government in 1993.
This time, the petitions were filed by Rajesh Verma, leader of BSP in Lok Sabha, who contended that the three MPs had incurred disqualification under the anti-defection law and demanded that their seats be declared vacant.
After the Privileges Committee headed by Kishore Chandra gave its report, Chatterjee heard the MPs and Verma for four days from December 10 last year.
In three separate orders, the Speaker held that based on the case made out in the petition, the material produced by the petitioner and the reply given by the MPs in their affidavits and during personal hearings, they had voluntarily given up their membership of the party on which they were elected.
He quoted extensively from the judgments of the Supreme Court in a number of cases and the reports submitted by the Privileges Committee in these matters.
Chatterjee upheld the contention of the leader of the BSP group, who had produced clippings from nearly a dozen prominent newspapers and also a video clip in one case, to prove that certain speeches and utterances were made by the three MPs after their suspension from the BSP and in favour of SP, which amounted to their voluntarily giving up their membership of the BSP.