In light of the current political unrest in Maharashtra, a petition has been filed with the Supreme Court asking for urgent guidance in a case so that lawmakers who have resigned or been expelled from the legislative assembly be barred from running for office for up to five years.
The relief has been requested in a new application submitted in a pending writ petition that Congress Leader Jaya Thakur had filed, in which she had prayed for a ban on candidates who had been disqualified from serving in the House under the Xth Schedule of the Constitution from running again in by-elections while serving in the House to which they were elected.
In January 2021, the Supreme Court bench of Justices AS Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian, and Chief Justice of India issued a notice in the case in relation to Thakur’s writ petition.
She has since filed a new interlocutory application in the writ petition in response to the political crisis in Maharashtra, claiming that despite being served with notice on January 7, 2021, neither the Central Government nor the Election Commission of India have yet submitted their counter-affidavits.
The application claimed that political parties are repeatedly overthrowing elected governments in different States because there has been no progress in the matter.
“Political parties are taking advantage of this situation and continuously attacking the elected governments in various States of our country. In the State of Maharashtra, the same event recently occurred from 18 to 22 June 2022. These political parties attempt to undermine our nation’s democratic foundation once more. As urged in this application for direction, immediate guidance from this Hon’ble Court is therefore required”, the application states.
It was proposed that once a member of the House is disqualified under the Xth Schedule, he should not be allowed to run for office again during the time for which he was elected.
“In the year 2019, in the State of Karnataka, 17 MLAs who resigned/were disqualified by the Speaker for anti-party activities, sought re-election and 11 of them got reelected. Ten of them got ministerial berths in the new Government that was formed after the earlier government fell, the result is that due to this, people of the State are denied stability and the Voters are denied their right to choose and elect representative having a common ideology,” the application said.
Therefore, the applicant wants to modify the current statute so that such MLAs can run in by-elections while the current legislature is in session. She uses Karnataka as an example, where numerous MLAs who left their positions in 2019 were re-elected to the same assembly in by-elections.
AOR Varinder Kumar Sharma filed the application, which was written by Advocate Varun Thakur.
Case Title: Jaya Thakur vs Union of India