Sharad Pawar led NCP in two separate letters to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla have urged not to further delay in the adjudication of the disqualification petitions filed against Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare respectively for indulging in anti-party activities. NCP MPs Supriya Sule and Vandana Chavan in their letters to the concerned presiding officers have said that the procedural wrangling should not be permitted to delay the conclusion of the disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Both Patel and Tatkare along with Ajit Pawar deserted the Pawar-led party in July this year to support the Eknath Shinde-led government in Maharashtra and joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Chavan said she had submitted a Disqualification Petition on July 4, 2023, seeking the disqualification of Praful Patel under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India. ‘’Regrettably, it has been a protracted period of 4 months without any discernible action being taken. The audacious actions of the delinquent MP represent a flagrant assault on the sanctity of the Tenth Schedule. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has mandated the expeditious resolution of such petitions to safeguard the essence of our Constitution. Therefore, I request you to ensure that no further delays impede the just adjudication of this petition.
On the other hand, Sule in her letter to Lok Sabha Speaker said, ‘’It has been 4 months since the filing of the disqualification petition on July 5, 2023 against Sunil Tatkare and a former member of NCP but no action has been taken by your office either to issue notice on the delinquent MP or to call for an oral hearing in the matter. In the Disqualification Petition, detailed grounds have been taken regarding the disqualification incurred by the delinquent MP under para 7(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule. No evidence is required as the delinquent MP has ex facie incurred disqualification.’’
Both Chavan and Sule pointed out in their letters that ‘’ The actions of the delinquent MPs in joining hands with the BJP government constitute a brazen attack on the Tenth Schedule. The Tenth Schedule has placed in you great trust to ensure that the sanctity of the Tenth Schedule is maintained and any violation thereof is dealt with by an iron hand.’’
Chavan and Sule also mentioned that allowing the disqualified MPs to continue as MPs expire committing the constitutional sin of defection and other anti-party activities has been frowned upon by the Supreme Court and it has been held in Rajendra Singh Rana vs Swami Prasad Maurya (2007) 4 SCC 270.
Further, they said that the Supreme Court in writ petition no 1077/2023 has directed the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker to decide the disqualification petitions filed on behalf of the NCP against the delinquent MLAs who had indulged in anti-party activities along with the aforementioned MPs on or before January 31, 2024.
Pawar led NCP’s aims to flag off the alleged blatant violation of the Tenth Schedule by Patel and Tatkare and how timely resolution of such petitions is necessary to uphold the Constitution and democratic principles in true spirit. Further, the party, which is in the midst of fielding new faces in the coming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, is keen to project the decision by Patel and Tatkare to join hands with BJP has not deterred Pawar from his resolve to rebuild the party.
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