Chandigarh, Feb 22 (IANS) Haryana’s main opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Tuesday moved a petition with the assembly speaker seeking the disqualification of seven independent legislators who had joined the government.
The petition was filed before the acting speaker of the assembly, Akram Khan, by INLD legislator Sher Singh Barshami seeking disqualification of the seven independent legislators from the assembly under the Anti-Defection Act.
The petition, moved through former MP and lawyer Satya Pal Jain, stated that the seven MLAs had got elected as independent candidates in the October 2009 assembly election. However, they joined the Bhupinder Singh Hooda ministry by extending support to the Congress party to form the new government.
The Congress had only 40 seats in the 90-member assembly in the election.
The seven MLAs are Om Parkash Jain, Sukhbir Kataria, Gopal Kanda, Sultan Singh, Zaleb Khan, Parhlad Singh Gilakhera and Shiv Charan Sharma.
O.P. Jain is a cabinet minister with the important portfolios of transport, tourism, civil aviation and hospitality while three others, Gopal Kanda, Shiv Charan Sharma and Sukhbir Kataria are ministers of state with independent charge of various portfolios.
While Kanda holds charge of home, industries and urban local bodies, Shiv Charan Sharma is the labour minister and Kataria is the sports, agriculture and cooperation minister.
Three other independent legislators, Jaleb Khan, Parhlad Singh and Sultan Singh, are chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS) in the Hooda government.
Lawyer Satya Pal Jain said that under the 10th Schedule to the constitution, an independent legislator has to remain as an independent throughout the term of the assembly and in case he joins any political party, he is liable to be disqualified from the membership of the house.
“Since all these seven legislators joined the Haryana government, which is of the Congress party, and later participated in the meetings and rallies of the Congress, so for all practical purposes they left their independent character and became a part and parcel of the Congress party,” Jain pointed out.
He said that the Supreme Court, in the case of legislator Jagjit Singh, has already held that even if an independent legislator does not formally join any political party, but if he by his conduct he loses his independent character, even then he is liable to be disqualified from the membership of the house.