Supreme Court breather for five Haryana legislators

New Delhi, Jan 4: In a breather to five legislators of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal party, the Supreme Court Wednesday stayed a high court order on their temporary disqualification from the assembly.

The legislators, who sought to merge their party’s legislative wing with the Congress, faced temporary disqualification after the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order. The high court also directed the assembly speaker to decide their fate.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar suspended the operation of all high court orders.

The judges also suspended the operation of the high court’s interim order which put on hold the Nov 9, 2009 decision of the speaker accepting the merger of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal (HJC-BL) with the ruling Congress.

The apex court issued notice to Kuldip Bishnoi, president of the HJC-BL, who approached the speaker seeking the disqualification of the five legislators.

The court also directed making the Election Commission of India as a respondent. The case would come up next Feb 15.

The legislators who got the relief are Satpal Sangwan, Rao Narinder Singh, Dharampal Chokker, Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma.

Sangwan and Narender Singh are cabinet ministers in the government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress.

Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma are chief parliamentary secretaries.

The high court, while hearing a plea for their disqualification, held that they will not sit in the assembly as Congress members.

The apex court passed the stay order after Attorney General G. Vahanvati told the court of the strictures passed by the high court against assembly speaker and the high court’s ‘temporary disqualification’ of the five lawmakers.

As Bishnoi’s counsel sought to describe the stay of high court verdict as ‘unfortunate’, the court advised him not to use such words.