Nation

SC asks Parliament to review powers of Lok Sabha Speakers, Assemblies to disqualify members

In a path breaking ruling, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said, the time has come when Parliament should have a rethink on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto.
 
The Apex Court said, Parliament may seriously consider amending the Constitution to substitute Speaker of Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies as arbiter of disqualification issues with a Permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court or some other mechanism to ensure swift and impartial decisions.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman took note of the role played by Speakers and inordinate delays in deciding pleas for disqualification of lawmakers and asked the Manipur Assembly Speaker to decide within four weeks the plea of a Congress leader seeking disqualification of BJP lawmaker and Manipur Forest Minister Th Shyamkumar. The bench added, in case no decision is forthcoming even after a period of four weeks, it will be open to any party to the proceedings to apply to this court for further directions/ reliefs in the matter. The top court was hearing the appeal of Congress leader Keisham Meghachandra Singh against the Manipur High Court order.

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