New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday urged Parliament to take a call on setting up an independent tribunal to “swiftly and impartially” decide on the disqualification of lawmakers under the anti-defection law.
“It is time that Parliament 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,” said the bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice V. Rama-subramanian in their judgment.
The court urged Parliament to “seriously consider” amending the Constitution to pave the way for a “permanent Tribunal” or “independent mechanism” to ensure that such disputes relating to disqualification of a lawmaker are decided both “swiftly and impartially”, thus giving “real teeth” to the provisions contained in the Tenth Schedule, which are “vital in the proper functioning of our democracy.”
The court said that independent mechanism could be headed by a retired SC judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court. Referring to the earlier judgments of the top court on disqualification of a lawmaker in breach of the anti-defection law, the SC said, “the Speaker is bound to decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period.”...