HC declines to stay disqualification of Bajpai, Sehrawat from Delhi Assembly

NEW DELHI, Sept 30:
The Delhi High Court Monday declined to stay Delhi Assembly Speaker’s decision to disqualify ex-AAP MLAs Anil Bajpai and Devinder Sehrawat under the anti-defection law.
While declining to grant an interim relief, Justice Navin Chawla issued notices to the office of Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, the Election Commission and AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj who had sought the disqualification of the duo for having participated in BJP events.
The high court has sought the replies by November 20.
“What is the urgency for a stay? There cannot be a stay of this (Speaker’s order),” the court said during the brief arguments.
Senior advocate Chetan Sharma, appearing for the two disqualified MLAs, pressed for stay of the Speaker’s August 8 decision on the ground that Goel had not dealt with all the issues raised by them during the anti-defection proceedings.
Sharma said the high court had asked the Speaker to deal with all the issues, including recusal of Goel from the proceedings, raised by the two.
The counsel appearing for the Speaker opposed the plea for stay of the August 8 order.
Sehrawat and Bajpai, in their pleas filed through advocates Neeraj and Shoumendu Mukherji, have contended that the Speaker’s order “was passed in haste” without giving them an opportunity to represent their case.
They have also alleged, in their petitions, that the disqualification proceedings against them were from inception conducted in a manner prejudicial to them.
A division bench of the high court had on July 24 dismissed their pleas seeking recusal of the Legislative Assembly Speaker from the disqualification proceedings against them, saying it finds no reason to entertain their appeals against a single judge order of July 8 denying them the same relief.
The single judge had said there was “no infirmity” in the procedure adopted by the Speaker and had rejected the MLAs’ allegation of bias as also the contention that he should have first decided their application for recusal before going ahead with disqualification proceedings.
Bharadwaj on June 10 had moved a petition in the Delhi Assembly and sought disqualification of Bajpai, who was the MLA from Gandhi Nagar, and Sehrawat, who had won the Bijwasan seat, for being openly critical of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and allegedly joining the BJP in May.
The duo have contended in their petition that the Speaker was not supposed to have political inclinations, but was seen attending events and protests of AAP and therefore, he should not have conducted the disqualification proceedings. (PTI)


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