Supreme Court invokes special powers, removes Manipur minister

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News:The Supreme Court has invoked special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to remove the Manipur Minister against whom disqualification petitions were pending before the Speaker since 2017.

Facts:

About the Judgement:

  • The Supreme Court removed the minister from the state cabinet and restrained him from entering the Legislative Assembly till further orders.
  • A disqualification petition under Tenth Schedule(Anti-defection law) was pending before the Speaker since 2017 but the Speaker failed to take the decision within a reasonable time period.

Article 212:

  • According to Article 212, the courts in India including the Supreme Court cannot interfere in the proceedings of the Legislature of state.
  • However,this has been overruled by the Supreme Court in this matter by invoking special powers under Article 142. 

About Article 142:

  • Article 142 provides for the enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court.It consists of two clauses:
  • Article 142(1):It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it and the orders shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.
  • Article 142(2): It states that the Supreme Court shall have the power to make any order for the purpose of (a)securing the attendance of any person, (b)the discovery or production of any documents or (c)the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.

About Tenth Schedule:

  • The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd amendment to the Constitution.It added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.The main intent of the law was to combat political defections.
  • The grounds on which a member of a legislature can be disqualified are a) if he/she voluntarily gives up the membership of his/her party and b) if a legislator votes in the House against the direction of his/her party and his/her action is not condoned by his party.
  • There is an exception that has been provided in the law to protect the legislators from disqualification.The 10th Schedule says that if there is a merger between two political parties and two-thirds of the members of a legislature party agree to the merger, they will not be disqualified.