SC commented defection in Goa MLAs case regarding decline in morality among legislators

SC commented defection in Goa MLAs case regarding decline in morality among legislators

On December 5, the Supreme Court's division bench deplore the decline in morality among legislators, as evidenced by an increase in defections from political parties. The bench, which included Justices MR Shah and Hima Kohli, was hearing a petition filed by former Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar concerning the alleged defection of 12 MLAs from the Congress and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party to the BJP in 2019.

The Supreme Court appeal further contended that the High Court erroneously interpreted the merger of the original political party as requiring a two-thirds majority of any legislature party, "completely disrobing the original political party of any role with respect to its merger and resultantly leaving the original political party at the mercy of the legislature party."
"Suffice it to say that such an interpretation would render Para 4 of Schedule X otiose and unworkable and would stands at odds with the object of enactment of the Schedule," the plea said.

According to the appeal, the following anomalous situations would arise as a result of the High Court order: 
1.    the more prominent original political party would be at the mercy of the whimsical musings of the majority members of a less                           conspicuous legislature party; 
2.    the members of a legislature party that set up the original political party would hold the fountainhead of their own authority at ransom           as they would wield the sword of unilateral merger at their beck and call; and
3.    Without having contested elections, political parties would be able to acquire 2/3rds of the House of legislature parties and thus become         a part of the House without having the authority of the electorate that it is representing.

According to the special leave petition (SLP) filed with the Supreme Court, the speaker provided protection to Congress defectors by invoking the protection guaranteed to a legislature party member when a member of the House's original political party merges with another party.

Case Title: Girish Chodankar v The Speaker, Goa Legislative Assembly & Ors.

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