In an unprecedented manner, two members of the Congress Party – Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and A Sampath Kumar, were ‘disqualified’ from the membership of the Telangana Legislative Assembly and 11 more were suspended for the rest of the budget session on Tuesday. This move has paved way for conduct of bypolls in the two seats Nalgonda and Alampur, represented by Venkat Reddy and Sampath respectively.As the State government notified the expulsion of the two members, Election Commission will soon notify the two seats as vacant ones. Once, the EC declares the two seats as vacant, the process for bypolls will begin.
In fact, the expulsion and suspension follows the ‘unruly’ behaviour by the Congress members during Governor ESL Narasimhan’s joint address to the State Legislature on Monday. Legislative Council chairman K Swamy Goud suffered an injury when Komatireddy flung headphones at him. Earlier in the day, as soon as the TS Assembly met at 10.00 am, speaker S Madhusudhana Chary expressed severe displeasure at the “unruly scenes” that were witnessed in the House, during the joint sitting of the State legislature, which was addressed by Governor ESL Narasimhan, on Monday.
Legislative Affairs minister T Harish Rao moved two separate motions initiating action against the Congress legislators as per the procedures of the conduct of Assembly business. The House unanimously passed the two resolutions. One expelling Venkat Reddy (Nalgonda) and Sampath (Alampur) from the House for the remaining period of their tenure and the other suspending the remaining Congress members from the House for the entire budget session. Similarly, five congress MLCs including Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Mohammad Ali Shabbir were also suspended for the entire budget session for their “behaviour.”
Will the axe fall on two more Congress MLAs for their alleged role in the headphone hurling incident in the State Assembly in which Legislative Council chairman Swamy Goud was hurt in his right eye? Reports emerging late in the night pointed out that the Assembly Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary went through the video footage of the proceedings during the Governor’s address to the joint session of Legislature and found that two more MLAs also had a role in the incident.
Though Assembly officials did not name the two MLAs, sources indicated that action might be initiated against them on Wednesday. A motion expelling the two might be moved to expel them from the House, sources said. If the House passes the motion and the vacany is notified to the Election Commission and the Commission decides to hold elections to fill the vacancies, bypolls might be held to four Assembly segments in the state.
With the expulsion of Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and Sampath Kumar from the House, two seats – Nalgonda and Alampur, represented by them in the Assembly, have fallen vacant. According to sources, the state government has issued extraordinary gazette notification saying that the two members have been expelled. The same has been informed to the Eelection Commission, which means bypoll is imminent.
As per Section 151 (a) of the Representation of the People’s Act, byelection should be held to any vacant seat within six months from the day it falls vacant. If the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than a year, bypoll will not be held.Meanwhile, with the expulsion of two Congress members and suspension of 11 other MLAs of the party along with five MLCs, the ongoing budget session of the State Legislature will be conducted without the presence of the main opposition.
Legislature is empowered to take any action against its members either for unruly behaviour or unethical conduct inside or outside the House.There are precedents in this regard. Way back in 1976, Subramanian Swamy was expelled from the Rajya Sabha, soon after he had taken oath as the member of the House.Former prime minister Indira Gandhi got elected from Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka in 1978. Based on an enquiry about her alleged misbehaviour with Lok Sabha officials, who had gone to her seeking some information with regard to electoral malpractices, she was expelled from the Lok Sabha membership.
Recently, 10 members from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha, whose conduct was found to be “unethical and unbecoming” of Members of Parliament, following a sting operation in the cash-for-questions scam, in 2005, were expelled. Bypoll was held to the 10 LS seats.The Supreme Court upheld the expulsion of 11 members of Parliament in this case, dismissing the petition filed challenging the expulsion of MPs.
Most recently, TDP member Karanam Balarama Krishna Murthy was suspended from the then united Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for 6 months on charges of making ‘objectionable’ remarks against the then Assembly Speaker K R Suresh Reddy. Very recently, YSRC member RK Roja was suspended from the Assembly of the truncated AP for a year, for showing disrespect to the Chair. #KhabarLive