Legislative assembly

Did the Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly ignore the ratio of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court while acknowledging the merger of 12 rebel congressmen with the TMC?

ohNOT On Thursday, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Meghalaya, Metbah Lyngdoh, rejected the disqualification requests filed by the Indian National Congress (INC) against 12 of its rebel MPs who had recently changed allegiance to the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC ), and formally approved their merger with TMC in the assembly.

On November 25, 12 of the 17 INC deputies in the Meghalaya assembly, including former chief minister Mukul Sangma, resigned from the Congress party and joined the TMC.

Subsequently, the deputy of the INC, Mr. Ampareen Lyngdoh, on November 29, filed 10 petitions with President Lyngdoh against the 12 deputies in order to obtain their disqualification in accordance with Annex 10 of the Indian Constitution, which provides the disqualification of lawmakers for defection. She filed two more similar petitions earlier this month.

Subsequently, President Lyngdoh sent notices to the 12 defector MPs asking them for their responses to the petitions. After receiving their responses, he made his decision on Thursday.

“I am convinced that the amalgamation of 12 members of the Indian National Congress is valid according to the 10th calendar of the Constitution and does not result in disqualification … I find no merit in the submissions made in the petition tabled by Ampareen Lyngdoh, MP , and therefore, the same is hereby rejected, “ said the speaker in his command.

In accordance with paragraph 4 of Annex 10, the merger of Members of one party with another will result in disqualification under the Annex only if at least two-thirds of the members of the legislative party concerned have agreed to such merger.

But subsection 4 (1) makes the merger of an “original political party” with another political party a prerequisite for benefiting from this exemption. Subsection 4 (2) adds, however, that for the purposes of subsection (1) of this subsection, the merger of the original political party of a member of an Assembly is deemed to have taken place if, and only if, at least two-thirds of the members of the legislative body concerned have given their consent to this merger.

Paragraph 4 leaves no answer if it suffices to mobilize two-thirds of the members of the legislative party and to merge with another party, to claim the exemption from forfeiture. Do defecting members have an obligation to demonstrate that the “original political party” has also merged with the party with which two-thirds of the legislative party claim to have merged?

In Rajendra Singh Rana vs. Swami Prasad Maurya (2007), the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that those who had left the party would have At first glance to show, through relevant documents, that there had been a split in the original party. Although paragraph 3 of the tenth annex was deleted by Parliament to overturn the recognition of splits within political parties, the case before the Supreme Court concerned the split within the Bahujan Samaj party, which had taken place before the deletion. Some experts believe that the ratio in this case may apply to cases in which the merger is contested.

Since the INC originally had 17 MPs in the Meghalaya legislature, 12 of which merged with the TMC, they were saved from disqualification by paragraph 4, as the number of defectors greatly exceeded the threshold of both. third, it seems. However, if we apply the ratio of the Supreme Court in the Rajendra singh rana, the result could be different. It is not clear whether the speaker of the Meghalaya assembly issued a reasoned order in this case, to examine whether he addressed the issue, which was decided by the Supreme Court in the event of a split.

The Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya has 60 members, including 41 deputies from the ruling coalition of the National Democratic Alliance. The TMC, which originally had no representation in the House, replaced the INC as the main opposition party in the House with 12 MPs.

Ampareen Lyngdoh said that she “respects[s]»The order of the President, and does not intend to challenge it.

Meghalaya is expected to go to the polls in February 2023.

The Tenth Schedule was added to the Constitution in 1985 via the Fifty-Second Constitutional Amendment, and its constitutionality was upheld by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the case of Kihoto Hollohan vs. Zachillhu & Ors. (1992).