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National News : SC asks Parliament to review powers of LS Speakers, Assemblies to disqualify members

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In a path-breaking decision, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, the time has come for Parliament to reconsider whether disqualification petitions should be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker is either de jure or de facto part of a particular political party.

The Apex Court said that Parliament could seriously consider amending the Constitution to replace Speaker of Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies as an arbiter of disqualification issues with a Permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge or a retired High Court Chief Justice or some other mechanism to ensure that decisions are swift and impartial.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman took note of the role played by Speakers and inordinate delays in deciding pleas for disqualification of lawmakers and asked the Manipur Assembly Speaker to decide within four weeks the plea of a Congress leader seeking disqualification of BJP lawmaker and Manipur Forest Minister Th Shyamkumar.

The bench added that, in the event that no decision is reached even after a four-week period, it will be open to any party to the proceedings to apply to this court for further directions / reliefs in the matter. The top court has heard Congress leader Keisham Meghachandra Singh's appeal against the order of the Manipur High Court.

Updated by: News Sources 2020-01-22 3:03 PM