CJI says SC can’t be blamed for pendency of Madhya Pradesh MLAs’ disqualification cases

Sharad A. Bobde points out that lawyers from both sides keep seeking adjournments in these cases for one reason or the other

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to take any blame on itself for pendency of cases raising concerns over the inordinate delay shown by Assembly Speakers to deal with disqualification of legislators who switched sides to topple State governments.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde said the lawyers from both sides keep seeking adjournments in these cases for one reason or the other.

The court was responding to a submission by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal that these cases remain pending until they are rendered infructuous at the end.

M.P. Congress MLA’s plea

Mr. Sibal said this while appearing for Congress MLA Vinay Saxena of Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Saxena had approached the Supreme Court complaining about the inaction of the Speaker in deciding the disqualification petitions filed against 22 legislators who switched sides from the Congress to the BJP that ultimately led to the fall of the Kamal Nath government.

Mr. Sibal said his case had been pending for sometime in the apex court and became infructuous because by-polls have already been held in the State and results were due on November 10.

“Delay has rendered the entire case infructuous. Matters like this become infructuous because requests are made in court for time [seeking of adjournments]. All such cases involving States like Goa and Tamil Nadu are all pending here still… There should be some element of urgency shown in cases concerning disqualification… Disqualification cases need to be taken up with some urgency”, Mr. Sibal submitted.

Chief Justice Bobde reacted, “We are not to blame… All of you seek time”.

Mr. Sibal clarified that he was not blaming the court, but only highlighting the urgency inherent in such cases.

“We will bear that in mind”, the CJI replied, while recording that Mr. Saxena’s case has become “infructuous”.

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