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SC sets aside Speaker’s ruling against Congress MLAs who defected to BJP

The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Manipur speaker’s June 2020 decision disqualifying three former Congress MLAs for defecting to BJP, a charge they denied.

The three had also challenged the decision as violative of the principles of natural justice as the speaker had not sought their explanation before disqualifying them, they argued.

The three MLAs-Kshetrimayum Biren Singh, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh and Sanasam Bira Singh-had first gone to the Manipur High Court against the speaker’s ruling but lost their case there. The high court had upheld the speaker’s decision on June 2, 2021. The MLAs then appealed to the top court. A bench led by Justice U U Lalit set aside the speaker’s order on Wednesday. The other judges on the bench were justices Ravinder Bhatt and Bela M Trivedi.

They MLAs were elected in 2017 on Congress party tickets. Later, they allegedly defected to BJP. The speaker had acted against them following complaints by the Congress.

The MLAs claimed that they did not defect. The speaker took note of media reports, photographs, and their presence at BJP functions to decide against them.

They claimed, through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, that their views had not been sought before a decision. The three MLAs were allegedly used to shore up the coalition government in Manipur.

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