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In an extraordinary order, the Supreme Court today restrained Manipur BJP MLA Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh from entering the state assembly (Keisham Meghachandra Singh v. Hon’ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly).
As a consequence, the Court held that Singh - currently Minister for Forest and Environment in the BJP government - would cease to be a Minister immediately.
The Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and Ravindra Bhat passed this order in exercise of the Court's jurisdiction under Article 142.
The present order was passed after the Court noted that despite its direction to the Speaker to decide on the disqualification petitions pending against Singh within four weeks, no such decision had been taken.
The Court had passed that order on January 21.
By way of background, the election for the Manipur Legislative Assembly was conducted in March 2017. The elections produced an inconclusive result, as none of the political parties were able to secure a majority. TS Singh initially contested as a candidate from the Congress party and was duly elected as such.
Immediately after the declaration of the results, Singh, along with various BJP members, met the Governor of the state to stake a claim for forming a BJP-led government. Three days later, the Governor invited the BJP to form the government in the state. On the same day, Singh was sworn in as a Minister in the BJP-led government.
The Court today noted that as many as 13 disqualification petitions against TS Singh remained pending before the Speaker since as far back as April 2017. No decision on the same had been taken as yet.
In January, the Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Aniruddha Bose, and V Ramasubramanian had given the Speaker a chance to perform his duties under the Tenth Schedule and decide on the disqualification of Singh within a period of four weeks. Liberty was granted to the appellants in the case to approach the Court should no decision be taken in the stipulated time.
After the lapse of this period of four weeks, the Speaker sought eight more weeks to take a call on the petition, whereas the appellants in the case urged the Court to take up the matter for decision on the disqualification.
The Court was earlier informed that the Speaker would give his decision on the issue within ten days from March 4, when the matter was last heard.
When the matter was taken up by the Court today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought an additional time of ten days for the Speaker to render his decision.
On account of this continual delay, the Court felt that it was constrained to pass orders in the matter today itself. It thus passed an order barring Singh from entering the assembly till further orders.
The Court will take up the matter again on March 30.