From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : 10th Schedule
Mains level : Paper 2- Power of the Speaker/Chairman, Kohito Hollohan case
The article examines the larger issue of powers of the Speaker under 10th Schedule and the current interim order of the Rajasthan High Court.
- The Rajasthan High Court had admitted the petition by the Congress faction group challenging the notice of the Speaker.
- In the interim order, the High Court had ordered to maintain the status quo.
Why Kihoto Hollohan Case matters
- The Kihoto Hollohan decision of the Supreme Court delivered in 1992 forms the basis in such decisions.
- The Constitution Bench which heard it was split 3:2.
- The majority on the bench upheld the constitutionality of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
- The High Court is not empowered to unsettle Kihota Hollohan and must apply its ratio that the Chairman/Speaker is the final arbiter on the disqualification of a member.
- Rajasthan High Court has raised the issue about whether disqualification under Tenth Schedule is applicable in the case of “intra-party dissent”.
- Para 2(1) a of 10th Schedule deals with disqualification of a member of a House belonging to any party “if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party”.
Let’s look at what the Supreme Court said in Kihoto Hollohan case:
“paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution is valid. Its provisions do not suffer from the vice of subverting democratic rights of elected members of Parliament and the legislatures of the States. It does not violate their freedom of speech, freedom of vote and conscience as contended”.
Consider the question “Examine the issue of powers of Speaker/Chairman in the matters of disqualification of the member against the powers of the Courts in such matters. What are the reasons for frequent frictions between the two authorities on this matter?”
The high courts and the Supreme Court routinely refuse to interfere in matters where the concerned authority has merely issued a show-cause notice or granted an opportunity of being heard. So, it must fix the issue raised by the Rajasthan High Court interim order.