The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the order of the Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker disqualifying five Bahujan Samaj Party legislators under the anti-defection law.
The five BSP MLAs were disqualified for violating the whip of the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal, the breakaway group of the BSP, during polling for the Rajya Sabha elections, from the state.
Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had disqualified, in an order dated June 10, 2006, five legislators -- Surinder Vikram Singh, Dharampal Singh, Jaiveer Singh, Ram Krishana and Ramji Shukla -- who had rejoined the BSP following the Allahabad high court order dated February 28, 2006.
A vacation bench, comprising Justice A R Lakshmanan and Justice Altaman Kabir, however, directed that the applications of the five MLAs challenging their disqualification should be listed for hearing on July 14 along with the main matter.
The court granted 10 days time to the speaker to file his response to the application and said the rejoinder, if any, should be filed by the applicants before the next date of hearing.
Senior counsel P P Rao, appearing for the petitioners, pleaded that the impugned order of the speaker was violative of the apex court's earlier order, which permitted all the 42 members of the BSP's breakaway group to function as the LBD.
Forty-two BSP MLAs had defected from the party on September 6, 2003, and subsequently joined the Samajwadi Party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav to enable him to cobble together a majority to form a government in UP.
The defection was upheld by the then speaker Kesrinath Tripathi who also upheld their subsequent act of joining the SP.
The Allahabad high court had, however, declared both the orders of the then speaker as illegal and unconstitutional.
The petitioners had resigned from the Mulayam Singh Yadav ministry and posts after the high court order and rejoined the BSP.
Present disqualification proceedings were initiated by the speaker on the complaint of Yogender Pratap Singh, leader of the LBD group in the assembly, who alleged that the five BSP MLAs' action was hit by the provisions of the anti-defection law as their strength was well below one-third of the total strength of the LBD.