Supreme Court refuses to revisit its verdict on anti-defection law

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The Supreme Court on wednesday refused to revisit its two-decade-old verdict on the anti-defection law holding that an elected or nominated member of Parliament of a political party is bound by its whip even after expulsion.

“Though we have heard the matter at length, we are not answering the question,” a three-judge bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi, P C Pant and Arun Mishra said while disposing of a petition filed by UP politician Amar Singh and Bollywood actor-turned politician Jaya Prada. The apex court was deciding on the question whether an expelled member could be disqualified under the law, if he or she defies party whip.

The issue had cropped up after Singh and Jaya Prada, who were members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively, had moved the Supreme Court on their expulsion from the Samajwadi Party on February 2, 2010, anticipating ouster from Parliament. Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who was expelled from Biju Janata Dal, had also moved the apex court on the issue. “The petitioner MPs have already completed their tenure. It would be more appropriate to not answer the question,” the bench said.

Earlier, the court had reserved the order on the petition seeking to revisit the 1996 verdict on the anti-defection law by which a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after expulsion.

The petitioners had contended that they have landed in a piquant situation as expelled members and apprehended disqualification under the anti-defection law if they chose to defy party’s whip on any issue in Parliament.

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