New Delhi, August 24: The Supreme Court Monday disposed of as “infructuous” a BJP MLA’s plea seeking stay on Rajasthan Speaker’s decision, which allowed six BSP MLAs to merge with the Congress, in view of the High Court order.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and M R Shah was informed by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Speaker, that earlier in the day that the Rajasthan High Court has passed an order on the plea filed by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar, The Print reported. He said the high court has asked the Speaker to decide on merit, the plea against the merger of six BSP MLAs with the ruling Congress.

Sibal said the high court had also asked the speaker to decide on the matter within three months. The bench said the plea before it was against an interim order of the high court, and has now become infructuous.

On August 17, the top court had deferred the hearing on Dilawar’s plea after it was informed that the Chief Justice of the High Court has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and the functioning was postponed till August 19.

Earlier, the top court had refused to pass any interim order on the plea after it was informed that the high court has been dealing with the case. The BJP lawmaker said the six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs have been wrongly allowed by the Speaker to merge with the ruling Congress party. Dilawar challenged the high court order which had refused to stay the functioning of these six MLAs as Congress legislators.

Earlier, the apex court had allowed the withdrawal of a petition filed by six Rajasthan MLAs of BSP seeking transfer of the plea pending against them in the high court to the apex court.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Dilawar, had said that the matter can go on before the high court but the issue is what is to be done in the meantime.

Salve, while referring to the September last year order of merger passed by the Speaker, had said there is a curious situation as the BSP is saying that they have not merged. He had said that the apex court should stay the Speaker’s order of September last year.

Senior advocate S C Mishra, appearing for the BSP, had said the six MLAs had gone to the Speaker saying they want to merge and the order for the merger was passed “straight away”. He had said in the Rajasthan Assembly also, these MLAs are not following the whip of the BSP; moreover, it is a national party and split, if any, has to be at the national level.

Dilawar has challenged in the apex court the August 6 order of a division bench of high court which disposed of his plea against the order of a single judge, who had refused to stay the functioning of these six MLAs as Congress legislators.

The single judge of the high court had earlier not granted any interim relief and refused to put a stay on the participation of six MLAs in the proceedings of the House as Congress legislators.

On July 30, the high court had sought response of the Assembly Speaker and its secretary on the pleas challenging the induction of the six MLAs into the Congress.

Two petitions have been filed in the high court, one by Dilawar and the other by BSP National Secretary S C Mishra.

Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha contested and won the 2018 assembly election on a BSP ticket but they defected to Congress in September 2019. They had submitted an application for the merger on September 16 last year and the Speaker allowed their induction into the Congress two days later. The merger was a boost to the Ashok Gehlot-led government as the tally of the Congress increased to 107 in the house of 200.

Dilawar has challenged the merger of the BSP MLAs into Congress, questioning Assembly Speaker CP Joshi’s order dismissing his complaint without allowing him to have his say. Mishra has challenged in the high court the defection of the MLAs, but these legislators had not sought transfer of his plea to the Supreme Court.

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