Former Assembly Speaker and senior UDP leader Bindo M. Lanong today said that with the revocation of paragraph 3 from the Tenth Schedule, a member who leaves a party will lose his membership of the Assembly and be disqualified immediately.
He was reacting to reports about moves by Congress Legislature Party leader Dr. Mukul Sangma to split the legislature party and join Trinamool Congress.
Speaking to a group of reporters here, Lanong said that the 91st amendment to the Constitution which came into force in January 2004 does not recognise a ‘split’ in a legislature party. According to him, the amendment no longer allows members to defect from a party and if Dr. Sangma and his MLAs split they forfeit their membership immediately.
Informing that the law applies to both parliament and state assemblies, Lanong told some reporters that paragraph 3 in the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) of the Constitution of India was removed which exempted disqualifications arising out of splits with one-third of the members defecting from a political party and there was a complete ban on the defection.
“Perhaps Dr. Mukul Sangma and his friends were not aware of this amendment of the Tenth Schedule where paragraph 3 has been revoked when they tried to leave the Congress party recently. Maybe, after they consulted legal and constitutional experts they found out that if they split from the party they will lose their membership and be disqualified immediately,” Lanong said.
The former Assembly Speaker said that perhaps this was the reason that Dr. Sangma and MLAs supporting him kept quiet after the move to split from the Congress recently.
“If they still stand by what they have in mind to leave the Congress they may do that a month or weeks before the end of this term so that this will not harm them that much if they are disqualified,” Lanong added.
He, however, said that the disqualification on the ground of defection does not apply in case of merger and recalled the case when Paul Lyngdoh joined UDP in 2009 after merging KHNAM with UDP.
According to Lanong, disqualification on grounds of defection does not apply in the case of a merger.
It may be recalled that Lanong as Assembly Speaker had in April 2009 disqualified four MLAs who deserted the NCP-UDP government.
Deputy Speaker and NCP MLA Sanbor Shullai, lone KHNAM MLA Paul Lyngdoh and independents Limison Sangma and Ismail Marak were disqualified from Assembly membership under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
However, the disqualification was later stayed by the Gauhati High Court.