Court dismisses plea on whips in parliament

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday dismissed a plea seeking directions to restrain political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, from issuing whips to their parliamentarians on an issue of constitutional amendment.

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice V.K. Jain dismissed the plea filed by petitioner Samta Andolan Samiti against the parties issuing whip during the passage of a constitutional amendment bill on reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in promotion in government jobs.

“We cannot issue the writ sought by the petitioner. We find no merit in this petition. The petition is accordingly dismissed,” the judges said.

The petition, filed through advocate M.L. Lahoty, said: “The action of the political parties issuing the whips in the matters of constitutional amendment, is against the provisions of the constitution.”

“The provisions of Schedule X of the constitution can be exercised by the political parties for issuance of a whip/direction only for the purpose of vote on confidence motion,” said the petitioner.

The judges said: “If the proposed amendment is in consonance with such a policy and programme, disqualification on account of violation of whip or direction issued by the Congress and the BJP requiring their respective members to vote in favour of the said proposed amendment would not be in contravention of the law declared by the Supreme Court.”

The petitioner said the government, under the shield of party whip issued by the ruling party, was trying to amend the basic structure of constitution, which is not permissible.

“The MPs should be given a free hand to legislate,” the petition said.

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