The Rajasthan High Court, in the matters of Bahujan Samaj Party v. Hon’ble Speaker, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, ruled that Speaker CP Joshi’s order dated September 18, 2019 was out of the scope of judicial review. The order that approved the merger of 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs with the Congress party was passed under the Rajasthan Assembly Rules, 1989 as an administrative order and not under paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule dealing with Anti-Defection laws.
The Judge accepted the contention of the Respondents that the Speaker was bound to accept the merger and had no adjudication. The speaker can only exercise discretion if merger is raised in defense to defection. The order was passThe order was challenged before the High Court by Dilawar and the BSP. The single judge bench refrained from staying the order and the parties appealed before the division bench that refused the prayer too. The Supreme Court was approached where the petition was dismissed as infructuous.
In a related matter, the Speaker was given three months to decide on a disqualification petition as mandated by the Supreme Court. The petition in question challenged the Speaker’s order dated 22 July that rejected to disqualify one of the MLAs. The court noted that the adjudication power for disqualification lies with the speaker and only on the final order and in exceptional cases, judicial review can be allowed.