The six Congress rebel MLAs disqualified by the Speaker of Himachal Pradesh Assembly,  did not get relief from the Supreme Court of India on Monday on their petitions seeking stay on their disqualification and by-elections process.

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, which included Justice Dipankar Dutta also turned down their request to allow them to participate in the proceedings of HP Vidhan Sabha.

The Bench was hearing the petitions of six Congress rebel MLAs- Sudhir Sharma, Rajender Rana, Ravi Thakur, ID Lakhanpal, Chaitanya Sharma and Devinder Bhutto.

The Bench issued notices to Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep singh Pathania and Secretary HP Vidhan Sdabha to respond within four weeks and gave one week for filing a rejoinder if any by the petitioners.

“We can issue a notice… That’s fine. But there will be no stay. Second, as far as a fresh election is concerned, we have to decide… But we’ll not allow you to vote and be a part of the legislative assembly. We won’t allow you to participate (in the proceedings of the assembly),” Justice Khanna told the petitioners.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the petitioners, said, “They shouldn’t be told the elections have been held and someone else has come in, the Bench said it will examine the issue”.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi submitted on behalf of the Speaker that Article 359 has been invoked by notification of election. and there is no question of staying in any fresh election and staying the disqualification,” Singhvi argued.

“We are not going to stay the disqualification,” Justice Khanna told Singhvi.

“Senior advocate Satya Pal Jain, who appeared for the petitioner rebel Congress MLAs, pointed out that the date of filing of nominations will be notified on May 7  and urged the top court to take up the matter before that”.

The Apex court has listed the matter for May 6 to decide about staying the by-elections for the six Assembly constituencies represented by the rebel Congress MLAs, before issuing of notification for starting the election process on May 7.

The six rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified for defying a Congress whip directing them to vote for Himachal Budget and cut motion.

They had voted for BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan in Rajya Sabha election leading to defeat of Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on February 27. 

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