Patna HC restores membership of four rebel JD(U) MLAsPatna: In a setback to JD(U), the Patna High Court today set aside Bihar Assembly Speaker's November order terminating the membership of four rebel MLAs under anti-defection law after the ruling party had sought action
Patna: In a setback to JD(U), the Patna High Court today set aside Bihar Assembly Speaker's November order terminating the membership of four rebel MLAs under anti-defection law after the ruling party had sought action against them over alleged cross-voting in Rajya Sabha polls.
The MLAs are Gyanendra Singh Gyanu (Barh), Neeraj Kumar Bablu (Chhatapur), Rahul Sharma (Ghoshi) and Ravindra Rai (Mahua).
Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary had disqualified them on grounds of anti-party activities and ‘voluntary surrender of membership'.
“Defection and dissent were not synonyms,” Justice J P Sharan said setting aside Chaudhary's order.
In the 57-page verdict, the High Court differentiated between ‘defection' and ‘dissent' and said that the activities of the four petitioners did not amount to voluntary surrender of membership.
Pointing out that the four petitioners had not put up any candidate against JD(U) National President Sharad Yadav during the Rajya Sabha by-election and had voted in his favour, Justice Sharan said, “Isolated act of dissent to such independence and nothing further to add on cannot amount to voluntary surrender of membership.”
Their membership was terminated on November 1, 2014 by the Speaker after JD(U) had charged them with anti-party activities, particularly in the by-election to three Rajya Sabha seats in June. Four more party MLAs were disqualified last month on similar charges.
The four MLAs had moved the High Court thereafter on November 3.
State JD(U) President Vashistha Narayan Singh asserted that it was not a setback to JD(U) “We respect the order of the High Court. It is not a set-back to the party,” he said before meeting Nitish Kumar at his official residence.
Buoyed by the verdict, the rebels MLAs said it would strengthen their fight against “autocratic leaders like Nitish Kumar” in the party.
“We respect the verdict of the honourable court. It has done justice to us.
It is also a tight slap on the face of JD(U) and former chief minister Nitish Kumar,” Neeraj Kumar Bablu said.
Bablu said the HC order will give confidence to those MLAs and leaders in the party who are opposed to Kumar but are are silent out of fear of action against them. “The fear in their minds will be driven away by this order and they will rise against Kumar,” he added.
Mahua MLA Ravindra Rai, considered most vocal among the four petitioners, expressed happiness over the High Court order and said it has revealed the truth.
“We were not wrong.
We were not opposed to the party but its autocratic leaders including Nitish Kumar. The judgement has blackened the face of all such dictators in the party.
They have been made to eat crow,” he said. Welcoming the judgment, Barh MLA Gyanendra Singh Gyanu said there was no question of going with JD(U) again or aligning with Lalu Prasad's RJD.
“We have been expelled from the party and we are free to choose any course of action. Around 50 JD(U) MLAs are with us and we will form a big group with them. We will do whatever is good for the state. We will campaign among the public against Nitish Kumar,” Gyanu said.
The High Court order has come as a shot in the arm for the four other JD (U) MLAs whose memberships were terminated by the speaker on December 27.
The memberships of Ajit Kumar(Kanti), Raju Singh (Sahebganj), Suresh Chanchal (Sakra) and Poonam Devi (Digha) were terminated on similar charges for backing two independent candidates Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali during the Rajya Sabha by-polls in June last year.
They were charged with anti-party activities and voluntary surrender of membership and the Speaker had taken action against them under Schedule X of Constitution which governs anti-defection laws.
They too have been mulling moving Patna High Court.