Himachal Speaker reserves order on party’s petition to disqualify 6 rebel MLAs

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Wednesday reserved his order on a Congress petition seeking disqualification of six party MLAs who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

The six MLAs also face the possibility of disqualification on another count.

Speaking in the assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshwardhan Chauhan said a whip was issued to the party MLAs to be present in the House during voting Wednesday on budget. But these MLAs defied it by staying away, he added.

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The minister asked the Speaker to take note of it. The Speaker said the matter is in his knowledge and he will take cognisance of it.

The MLAs had cross-voted for BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan during the Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday, leading to the defeat of their party candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The Congress has accused the six MLAs of defying the earlier whip on the Rajya Sabha polls.

Senior advocate Satya Pal Jain, who represented the six MLAs before the Speaker on Wednesday, has asserted that a party whip does not apply in the case of Rajya Sabha polls.

Jain also argued that the MLAs were only given the notice and the copy of the Congress’ petition while other annexure were not supplied to them.

He said according to rules, seven days’ time has to be given to the MLAs for filing the reply. He said there are five or six conditions under the anti-defection law, including seven days’ time for reply, which have to be complied with.

He asserted that the anti-defection law does not apply on voting in Rajya Sabha polls, and added that the Supreme Court has repeatedly said it.

“We have urged the Speaker to give at least one week’s time as per the principle of natural justice for filing the reply,” Jain added.

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