SC Refuses to Stay BSP-Congress Merger

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The Supreme Court decided on the petition filed by BJP MLA praying for a stay on the BSP-Congress merger. The bench was headed by J. Arun Mishra and refused to grant a stay order.

Brief facts of the Case

This matter arises from a Special Leave Petition filed by Madan Dilawar who is a Bharatiya Janta Party MLA. He was challenging the order of the High Court of Rajasthan that refused to stay the merger. He had moved against the decision of the Speaker of Rajasthan that approved the merger.

The merger refers to the one between six MLAs of Bahujan Samaj Party and the Indian National Congress that was approved by the Speaker in September 2019. These MLAs had been elected under a ticket that was issued by the BSP. The petitioner challenged the Speaker’s decision in March 2020 under the 10th Schedule, but, this was withdrawn. Following this, in July an order was passed by the Speaker that dismissed the petitioner’s petition and he moved to the High Court to challenge the same.

Arguments

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal represented the Speaker. The BJP MLA i.e. the petitioner was represented by Harish Salve, Dr Rajeev Dhawan represented one of the BSP MLAs who was merging with INC and S.C. Mishra represented the BSP.

Senior Adv. Kapil Sibal submitted that this matter was already being argued in the Rajasthan High Court. 

Senior Adv. Mishra requested the Court to pass an interim order. He argued that if the merger is allowed, it would be failing the democratic procedure. 

Senior Adv. Sibal mentioned, responding to a question put forth by the bench, that based on the Speaker’s order no business would take place in the House the next day as this matter is still on-going in the Rajasthan High Court.

Dr Dhawan stated that the Committee initiating a No-Confidence motion would be appropriate.

Court’s Observation

The bench remarked on the main issue of the petitioner. The Speaker has already approved the merger in question, but, no interim order is in place putting a stay on the same. The petitioner is concerned that some transactions might take place taking into account this merger. They asked the advocate representing the Speaker if there has been any suck mention on the agenda to which he replied that it is unheard of but the agenda would be formed the next day itself.

Also, during the pendency of the hearing, the on-going matter in the Rajasthan High Court was adjourned without passing an interim order. The Supreme Court observed how at this stage it cannot go into the merits of the case and would refrain from interfering.

Court’s Decision

The Court decided not to make any remark or pass any order keeping in mind the pending proceedings in the High Court. But, it did mention that any transaction that might take place on the merger in the House will be subject to the Court’s order.

Justice Mishra then adjourned the matter which is now listed to be heard on the following Monday.


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