New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today granted a day’s time to assembly speaker M.S. Dhir to respond to a plea filed by expelled AAP legislator Vinod Kumar Binny seeking to declare him an Independent member of the legislature.
Justice Manmohan posted the matter for Wednesday and asked advocate Zubeda Begum, appearing for the Delhi Legislative Assembly speaker, to take instruction on the issue.
Hearing the plea, the court said it was inclined to give similar relief to Binny as per the 2010 order of the Supreme Court in which it had protected former Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Jaya Prada from disqualification as member of parliament after they were expelled by the party.
Begum opposed the plea saying it is premature. She added there is no imminent danger to him because assembly is in suspension.
Binny, elected from the Laxmi Nagar assembly constituency as an AAP candidate, Monday moved the court against the assembly speaker and the party.
Counsel Rahul Raj Malik appearing for Binny argued that when he stood expelled from the AAP, then why should he be bound by the directions of the party.
“They (AAP) compelled me to vote in their favour during those (assembly) days. When I was expelled, I don’t enjoy the privileges as enjoyed by other members of the party. But I have to follow the diktat of the party. They issued two whips (Feb 13 and Feb 14) compelling me to come and vote,” the lawyer contended.
Filing the plea, Binny said he joined the AAP in 2013 and on various instances raised his grievances with the (then) chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on issues relating to wilful inaction regarding introduction of promised policies in the manifesto by the party.
“The petitioner (Binny), through a press conference, expressed and raised his concern over the issue, following which he was expelled from the party and his membership of the party was also terminated by the disciplinary action committee through a letter dated Jan 26, thereby changing the status of the petitioner to that of an Independent member of the legislative assembly (MLA),” the plea said.
The petition further added that Binny sent a letter to the Delhi assembly speaker Feb 3, seeking clarification on the status of his assembly membership and his right to vote.
The speaker’s reply Feb 11 was that Binny’s claim is “devoid of any merits, grossly illegal, unjustified and in violation of democratic rights of an MLA”.
Moving the high court, Binny sought setting aside of the speaker’s letter, saying it posed an imminent threat to his continuance as a legislator. He also challenged issuance of two whips by AAP.
Binny sought to know that since he was expelled by the party and had not voluntarily resigned from the membership of the party, would he still belong to the same party and have to follow the whips issued by the leader of his erstwhile party.
He said the provisions of the constitution of India and the Members of Delhi Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1996 are silent on the expulsion of a member of the party being grounds for disqualification, and asked why a whip or direction of the political party should be binding on its erstwhile member.