Expulsion from Lok Sabha: SC to Hear Mahua Moitra’s Plea in May

The Supreme Court on Monday stated that it would schedule a hearing in May for TMC leader Mahua Moitra’s plea challenging her expulsion from the Lok Sabha.

The Trinamool Congress leader’s plea was brought before a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta. Moitra’s counsel stated that they do not plan to file a rejoinder to the counter affidavit submitted by the secretary-general of the Lok Sabha.

“List on a non-miscellaneous day in the week commencing May 6. The counsel for the petitioner (Moitra) states that they do not intend to file a rejoinder,” the bench remarked.

On January 3, the apex court had sought a response from the Lok Sabha secretary-general on Moitra’s petition challenging her expulsion.

The bench had declined to issue an order on her interim prayer to attend Lok Sabha proceedings, stating that granting it would amount to providing her with the main relief.

Additionally, the top court refused to issue notice to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Committee on Ethics of the House, both of whom were made respondents by Moitra in her plea.

On 8th December, 2023, following a heated debate in the Lok Sabha over the ethics panel report, during which Moitra was not permitted to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to expel the TMC MP from the House for “unethical conduct.”

The motion was adopted by a voice vote. The ethics committee found Moitra guilty of “unethical conduct” and contempt of the House for sharing her Lok Sabha members’ portal credentials user ID and password with unauthorized individuals, which had an irrepressible impact on national security, Joshi had stated.

The committee also recommended that due to Moitra’s “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous, and criminal conduct,” the government initiate an intense legal and institutional inquiry with a set deadline.

Joshi’s motion asserted that Moitra’s “conduct has further been found to be unbecoming as an MP for accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest, which is a serious misdemeanour and highly deplorable conduct” on her part.

Previously, ethics committee Chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar had presented the panel’s report on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey against Moitra.

In October 2023, Dubey, based on a complaint submitted by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, alleged that Moitra had asked questions in the Lok Sabha in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to attack industrialist Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In an affidavit to the ethics committee on October 19, Hiranandani claimed that Moitra had shared her login ID and password for the Lok Sabha members’ website with him.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte