Speaker Current Affairs - 2020

First Time: Supreme Court removed a state minister over Disqualification petition

On March 18, 2020, for the first time in its history, the Supreme Court removed the Manipur Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh from the state cabinet. The apex court has also been restrained him from entering the Legislative assembly.

What is the issue?

Mr Shyamkumar won the 2017 assembly elections on Congress Ticket and switched over to BJP to become the minister of Town Planning, forest and Environment. Disqualification petitions were filed against him to the speaker by the other MLAs. The Disqualification petitions against the minister was pending before the speaker of the Manipur Assembly since 2017. However, no action has still been taken. When the issue was appealed to SC, the apex court has invoked Article 142 and has removed the minister from the cabinet.

The SC also said that the speaker is to act as a tribunal in cases of disqualification petition under the tenth schedule.

Article 212

According to the Article 212, the courts in India including Supreme Court cannot interfere in the proceedings of the Legislature of state. No members, officers of the state are subjected to jurisdiction while exercising his duties or regulating procedures, maintaining order.

This has been over ruled by SC in this matter invoking Article 142. This is because, the matter was left unsolved. Also, under Anti-Defection law, the winning members cannot shift parties. Such members according to the law are considered disqualified.

Article 142

The Supreme Court under the article 142 can pass an order doing “complete justice” to matter pending before it.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes awayFormer Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes away

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away following multi-organ failure in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was 89. He was Speaker of Lok Sabja (House of the People) in first five-year term (2004-2009) of United Progressive Alliance Government.

Somnath Chatterjee

He was born in 1929 in Tezpur, Assam. He was educated at Mitra Institution School, Presidency College and then University of Calcutta in Calcutta. He also attended Jesus College, Cambridge and graduating with BA in 1952 and an MA in 1957, both in Law.

He was awarded honorary fellowship by college in 2007. He was called to bar from Middle Temple in London and took up legal practice as advocate at Calcutta High Court before joining active politics. He joined Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in 1968 and was member till his expulsion in 2008.

He was elected to Lok Sabja (Parliament’s Lower House) for ten times since 1971 (except once when he lost to Mamata Banerjee in the Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in 1984).  He was expelled from CPM in July 2008 for refusing to resign as Speaker after his party withdrew support from UPA government.