A five-judge bench presiding over the case of Nabam Rebia & Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker, Arunachal Legislative Assembly (2016), ruled that a speaker cannot decide a disqualification petition filed under the anti-defection law if a notice of the Speaker’s removal is pending under Article179(c).
The judgement reads “It is constitutionally impermissible for a Speaker of the House to adjudicate upon disqualification petitions under the anti-defection law as per Tenth Schedule while a motion of resolution for his/her own removal from Office of Speaker is pending”.
However, in light of the current ruling, the five-judge bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud referred the Nabam Rebia Case to a seven-judge bench for review.
Why is this case relevant?
The Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena gave reference to the Nabam Rebia citing that the Speaker cannot disqualify the dissident MLAs as a removal notice is pending against him.
In response, the Thackeray faction pointed out that the dissenting MLAs can stall their own disqualification by seeking the removal of the Speaker through a notice. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray side appealed to the Supreme Court to refer the case to a higher bench, stating that it can have serious ramifications for the country’s democratic future.