File reply to Speaker disqualification order: High Court to Kapil Mishra
The Delhi High Court on Friday asked rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra to file his response to the findings against him in the Speaker's order disqualifying him from the city's legislative assembly.
New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Friday asked rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra to file his response to the findings against him in the Speaker's order disqualifying him from the city's legislative assembly.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru told Mishra that he has to show that his disqualification was "palpably erroneous" and for that he has to specifically deny the findings or allegations against him in the August 2 order of Speaker Ram Niwas Goel.
"You (Mishra) have to show that the order was palpably erroneous. Are you contesting the merits of the order? Are you denying any of the findings? Where have you said the allegations are not correct? Your claim of natural justice has no meaning if you are not contesting the facts," the court said. "File an affidavit indicating your response to the merits of the findings recorded in the impugned order," it said and listed the matter for September 4.
Mishra's lawyers told the court that all the allegations or findings against him were not disputed, but it would not mean that he has voluntarily given up AAP's membership. The speaker had disqualified Mishra for campaigning for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls and for sharing the stage with other leaders of that party at an event.
While Mishra has contended that he has not voluntarily given up his membership in the party, the speaker had found that his actions amounted to giving up of his party membership. The rebel AAP leader, represented by advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, moved the high court on Tuesday against his disqualification from the Legislative Assembly under the anti-defection law.
The Karawal Nagar MLA was disqualified with effect from January 27 when he had shared the stage with BJP leaders at an election event organised by them. Seeking quashing of the Speaker's order, Mishra has contended that the decision was "wholly illegal, arbitrary, vague and mala fide" as he was not provided any opportunity to present his case.
The petition has claimed that the Speaker assumed that Mishra had voluntarily given up his AAP membership when he attended the BJP event, without considering that he had attended the budget session and also followed all the whips issued by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as well as supported all the bills, proposals and resolutions tabled by the government.
The Speaker's order had come on a complaint moved by AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj seeking Mishra's disqualification from the Delhi Assembly under the anti-defection law. "It is submitted that despite the request of the petitioner, respondents (Assembly and Delhi government) have not given him the opportunity to contest his case on merits and also did not permit him to lead the evidence, did not allow him to summon witnesses and knowingly and deliberately in a clandestine manner avoided the cross-examination of respondent 4 (Bharadwaj)," Mishra's petition has said.
It has also said that the Speaker never gave him the opportunity to raise the point of non-maintainability of the complaint or that Bhardwaj has no locus standi and authorisation to file the petition under the anti-defection law.