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23 February, 2011

INLD wants Independent MLAs disqualified

The Hindu
CHANDIGARH: Indian National Lok Dal MLA Sher Singh Barshami on Tuesday filed a petition before the Acting Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha seeking disqualification of seven Independent MLAs who are now Ministers in the Congress Government.
Mr. Barshami, who is also Deputy Leader of the INLD Legislative Party in the Vidhan Sabha, has sought disqualification of Om Parkash Jain, Sukhbir Kataria, Gopal Kanda, Sultan Singh, Zaleb Khan, Prahlad Singh Gilakhera and Shiv Charan Sharma under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
Accompanied by his lawyers Satya Pal Jain, Senior Advocate, Dheeraj Jain and others, Mr. Barshami reached the office of Acting Speaker Akram Khan in the Vidhan Sabha premises at 1 p.m. to submit the disqualification petition.
Addressing the media after filing the petition, Mr. Satya Pal Jain said that all these seven MLAs had been elected to the Vidhan Sabha as independent MLAs in the last Assembly elections held in September/October 2009. Immediately thereafter these MLAs had extended their support to the Congress to form the new government because the party had got only 40 out of 90 seats.
He further said that all of them were given ministerial berths by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. While Om Parkash Jain, Sukhbir Kataria and Gopal Kanda were inducted as Ministers, the other four were appointed Chief Parliamentary Secretaries.
Mr. Jain further contended that they “have been participating in the meetings and rallies organised by the Congress in Haryana”.
Under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India, an independent MLA has to remain an independent throughout the term of the Vidhan Sabha and in case he joins any political party, he is liable to be disqualified from the membership of the House.
Mr. Jain asserted that since all these MLAs joined the Haryana Government, which is of the Congress Party, and later participated in meetings and rallies of the Congress, they had “given up their independent character”.
He said the Supreme Court in Jagjit Singh's case had already held that even if an independent MLA does not formally join any political party but by his conduct loses his independent character, he is liable to be disqualified from the membership of the House.