NPF president Shürhozelie Liezietsu

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Sunday welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling on Anti-Defection Law.

The party hailed the top court for directing the Parliament to rethink over the power of the Speaker of Lok Sabha or any state Assembly in deciding petitions seeking disqualification of lawmakers who also belong to a political party.

The Opposition party, in a statement, cited the disqualification petition against seven of its MLAs which is still lying in Nagaland Assembly Speaker’s court for the past 10 months.

It called it a classic example of unreasonable delay at hand of a disqualification petition.

With the apex court’s directive, the Parliament is set to set up an independent tribunal to decide disqualification petitions within reasonable time to give teeth to the anti-defection law instead of leaving it to speakers who continue to remain political party members either de jure or de facto, the release said.

The NPF said in the recent Manipur Congress MLAs’ disqualification case, the three-judge bench of the apex court directed the Manipur Speaker to dispose off the case within four weeks failing which petitioner can approach the high court.

The party said the apex court, in general term, gave direction that the Speaker should not sit over disqualification petition for more than three months.

The NPF said it believed that the Supreme Court’s judgement will compel all political parties to have a serious thought for giving effect to the provisions of the Tenth Schedule in its true earnest.

The party urged the Parliament to seriously consider, as advised by the Supreme Court, amending the Constitution to substitute speakers of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies.

It also urged the Parliament to do away with quasi-judicial authority of a Speaker in matters of disqualification petitions.

In many cases, the disqualification petition which is to be decided within reasonable period of time is lingered on to indefinite period, the party observed.

The NPF filed a disqualification petition before the Nagaland Speaker against seven of its MLAs on April 24 last year for supporting NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi in the April 11, 2019, Lok Sabha polls though the party had decided to back the Congress’s KL Chishi.

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