WITH PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION DISCUSSION.
NEUTRALITY OF SPEAKER BEING COMPROMISED UNDER CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
UPSC 1991 : In the exercise of powers conferred on him under paragraph of the 10th Schedule to the Constitution, the Speaker of Lok Sabha gives his decision on questions as to disqualification of some members on ground of defection. The aggrieved members file a writ petition against the decision of the speaker in the Supreme Court notwithstanding a Bar to jurisdiction of all courts under paragraph 7 of the said schedule. Decide.
SPEAKER DECISION AND JUDICIAL REVIEW :
1. Even if an issue is not justiciable, if the circumstances relied upon by the executive authority are absolutely extraneous and irrelevant, the Courts have the undoubted power to scrutinise such an exercise of the executive power. Such a judicial scrutiny is one which comes into operation when the exercise of the executive power is colourable or mala fide and based on extraneous or irrelevant considerations.
2.The Speaker, while adjudicating a disqualification petition, acts as a quasi-judicial authority and the validity of the orders thus passed can be questioned before the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. However, ordinarily, the party challenging the disqualification is required to first approach the High Court as the same would be appropriate, effective and expeditious.
3.In the earlier Constitution Bench judgment of Kihoto Hollohan, the order of the Speaker under Tenth Schedule can be subject to judicial review on four grounds: mala fide, perversity, violation of the constitutional mandate and order passed in violation of natural justice.
POWER OF THE SPEAKER TO ACCEPT/REJECT THE RESIGNATION OF MEMBERS :
KEY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS CASE :
1. The Speaker’s scope of inquiry with respect to acceptance or rejection of a resignation tendered by a member of the legislature is limited to examine whether such a resignation was tendered voluntarily or genuinely.
2. Once it is demonstrated that a member is willing to resign out of his free will, the speaker has no option but to accept the resignation. It is constitutionally impermissible for the Speaker to take into account any extraneous factors while considering the resignation. The satisfaction of the Speaker is subject to judicial review.
NEUTRALITY UNDER THREAT : “If Speaker is not able to disassociate from his political party and behaves contrary to the spirit of the neutrality and independence, such person does not deserve to be reposed with public trust and confidence,” Justice Ramana wrote.
The Supreme Court, through its back-to-back decisions while resolving the political crises in Maharashtra and Karnataka, has sent a strong message to high constitutional authorities who shed their neutrality to favour party politics in States.
The court has highlighted the need for authorities like the Speaker and the Governor to be faithful to constitutional morality and not vacillate under “prevailing political pressures”.
There is a growing trend of the Speaker acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral. Thereby the citizens are denied stable governments. In these circumstances, there is need to consider strengthening certain aspects, so that such undemocratic practices are discouraged and checked.
The court has made it clear that as “the sentinel on the qui vive of the Constitution, it is under obligation to see that the democracy prevails and not gets hollowed by individuals”.
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