The Supreme Court of India on Thursday ruled that any citizen of India can seek disqualification of a member of parliament or state assemblies by invoking the anti-defection law for switching loyalty.
The ruling came in a petition filed by the Orissa assembly speaker who challenged a state High Court order which said a non-legislator can invoke the anti-defection proceedings against a member of house, according to a Daily Bhasker report.
Orissa NCP president Utkal Keshari Parida had approached the speaker seeking disqualification of four MLAs of his party as they had switched loyalties. However, the speaker had ruled that Parida's appeal was not maintainable as he was not a member of the House.
Four NCP MLAs -Amar Prasad Satpathy, Ramachandra Hansdah, Prashant Nanda and Nabin Nanda - joined BJD on June 5, 2012.
The apex court ruled that the Speaker of the House under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution can hear anti-defection proceedings initiated by any citizen of India against a member of the House and give an appropriate ruling on the motion.
"The provisions of Sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 6 of the 1987 Rules have, therefore, to be read down to make it clear that not only a Member of the House, but any person interested, would also be entitled to bring to the notice of the Speaker the fact that a Member of the House had incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India," the bench said, adding thereafter the speaker can decide the issue , as reported by the Hindustan Times.
On a provision of the Orissa Assembly Rules, 1987, according to which only a legislator could put in motion disqualification proceedings under the anti-defection law, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altmas Kabir said that such rules cannot curtail or contradict the constitutional provisions.