High Court Queries Assembly Speaker on Non-Acceptance of Independent MLAs’ Resignations

During a heated debate in the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday, the bench questioned why the voluntary resignations submitted by independent MLAs were not accepted by the Assembly Speaker. The session was attended via video conferencing by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Speaker.

The bench, consisting of Chief Justice MS Ramchandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rival Dua, heard the case concerning the non-acceptance of the resignations. The petitioner’s lawyer argued that the independents were compelled to file a petition after their resignations were not acknowledged.

The court was informed that typically, resignations submitted voluntarily and without any duress by independent legislators are accepted. However, in this case, that did not happen. Senior advocate Maninder Singh represented the independents, while Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of the Assembly Speaker through video conferencing.

Sibal explained that the Assembly Speaker is empowered by the Constitution to use his discretion in such matters, and the court cannot intervene except to set a timeline. Whether to accept or reject a resignation is at the Speaker’s discretion.

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Justice Jyotsna Rival Dua pressed Sibal on why the resignations, submitted voluntarily on March 22, were not accepted. Sibal responded by revealing subsequent events: after submitting their resignations, the independents joined the BJP on March 23 and then traveled in a chartered plane. Based on these actions, the Speaker issued a ‘show cause’ notice.

The discussions were scheduled to continue past 2 PM, but when Sibal expressed his inability to proceed at that time, the High Court then adjourned the case to be heard after 4 PM on April 30.

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