SC Notice to Naveen Patnaik on Expelled Party MP's Plea
The Supreme Court today issued notices to Centre, Rajya Sabha Secretariat and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik on expelled party MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra's plea that he should not be disqualified from the Upper House for defying the party whip.

Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra submitted that he should be given protection against the Anti-Defection Law in case he defies whip of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has expelled him.

Appearing for the MP before a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, advocate Suresh Tripathy submitted that the apex court earlier had granted similar interim relief to expelled Samajwadi Party MPs Amar Singh and Jaya Prada in November 2010.

The bench, after a brief hearing, agreed to hear the plea and issued notice to the parties including Naveen Patnaik.

"In terms of law, petitioner once expelled from the party, can not be made to suffer in his right to participate in the debate in the House as an independent. Law as it stands does not recognise a situation that a member, once expelled from the political party that had set him up as a candidate, would still be dictated by the whims of the said political party," he said in his petition.

Giving relief to expelled Samajwadi Party MPs Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, the Supreme Court, on November 15, 2010, had directed that no action shall be taken against the two under the Anti-Defection Law in case they defy the party whip.

It had referred to a larger Constitution bench the question as to whether an expelled member could be disqualified under the law, if he chooses to defy a party whip.

The MP has moved the apex court fearing that he may be disqualified for not abiding by the party whip in Parliament in view of a 1996 verdict of the apex court.

As per the interpretation of the anti-defection law by the Supreme Court in the 1996 verdict, a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after his or her expulsion.

Mohapatra, who was expelled on November 16, said the order of expulsion in writing has not been sent to the Rajya Sabha even though nearly 20 days has elapsed since the date of decision.

"As a result, Rajya Sabha treats me as a member belonging to BJD. Though expelled, by virtue of the undemocratic conduct, I am made subject to the whip of the party and failure to adhere to such a whip would entail consequence of incurring disqualification under clause 2(1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule," he said in his plea.

"It is neither the legislative intent nor the mandate of 10th Schedule in the Constitution to bring an expelled member from a political party to suffer the consequences of disqualification," he said.

Mohapatra, Patnaik's main advisor over a decade, was suspended from the BJD for allegedly plotting a coup against the chief minister.
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