SC Declines to Stay Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker’s Order Disqualifying 6 MLAs

Himachal Pradesh MLAs

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the order of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker disqualifying six Congress rebels who had cross-voted in the recent Rajya Sabha polls in the state.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta issued notice to the office of HP Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania, seeking its response to the plea within four weeks.

The bench specified that pending the adjudication of their plea, rebel HP Congress MLAs would not be permitted to vote or participate in the Assembly’s proceedings.

Regarding the question of holding by-elections for the six vacant seats, the bench remarked that it would need to examine whether the elections notified by the ECI should be stayed during the pendency of the plea.

The matter was scheduled for listing on May 6, and the rebel MLAs were given a week to file their rejoinder.

The filing of nominations for the six vacant assembly seats is set to commence on May 7.

The six rebels—Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto—were disqualified on February 29 for defying a Congress whip to be present in the House and vote in favor of the Himachal Pradesh government during the cut motion and budget.

Following the disqualification of the rebels, the effective strength of the House decreased from 68 to 62, while the number of Congress MLAs reduced from 40 to 34.

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