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SC to hear Mahua Moitra's plea on Friday against expulsion from Lok Sabha

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Shailesh Khanduri
New Update
Mahua Moitra Supreme Court

Mahua Moitra

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday will hear plea of Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra against her expulsion after the Lok Sabha adopted a report by its ethics committee that held her guilty of accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interests.

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Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud had on Wednesday assured the counsel for  the expelled Lok Sabha MP he will take a call on the request for urgent listing of her plea challenging her expulsion from the Lok Sabha even as her nemesis Nishikant Dubey, the BJP MP from Jharkhand whose complaint led to her ouster, approached the court seeking impleadment in the matter.

The TMC leader had moved the apex court on Monday against her expulsion after the Lok Sabha adopted a report by its ethics committee that held her guilty of accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interests.

"Since the entire genesis of the instant petition arises from the complaint dated October 15, 2023 made by the applicant (Dubey) herein, therefore, it is just and proper and is in the interest of justice that the applicant be impleaded as a necessary party," Dubey said in the application he filed in the top court.

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On Wednesday, the CJI-led bench took note of the submissions of senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, the counsel for Moitra, and Justice Chandrachud said he will look into the listing aspect at lunch during the day.

"This is a member being expelled from the Lok Sabha," Singhvi said, while requesting the bench to list the plea for hearing either on Thursday or Friday.

"The matter may not have been registered... If an email was sent, then I would look at it right away. Please send it," the CJI said.

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Earlier in the day, Singhvi mentioned Moitra's plea before a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul as the CJI was heading a constitution bench.

"The CJI will take the call," Justice Kaul told Singhvi.

On December 8, after a heated debate in the Lok Sabha on the Ethics Committee report during which Moitra was not allowed to speak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had moved a motion seeking expulsion of the TMC MP from the House for "unethical conduct". The motion was adopted by a voice vote.

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Reacting sharply to her expulsion, Moitra had equated the action with hanging by a "kangaroo court" and alleged that a parliamentary panel was being weaponised by the government to force the opposition into submission.

The Ethics Committee found Moitra guilty of "unethical conduct" and contempt of the House as she had shared her Lok Sabha members' portal credentials -- user ID and password -- with unauthorised people, which had an irrepressible impact on national security, Joshi said.

The committee had also recommended that in view of the "highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct" of Moitra, an intense, legal and institutional inquiry be initiated by the government in a time-bound manner.

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The motion moved by Joshi said Moitra's "conduct has further been found to be unbecoming as an MP for accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest, which is a serious misdemeanour and highly-deplorable conduct" on her part.

Earlier, Ethics Committee Chairman Vinod Kumar Sonkar had tabled the first report of the panel on a complaint filed by Dubey against Moitra.

In October, Dubey, on the basis of a complaint submitted by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, alleged that Moitra had asked questions in the Lok Sabha in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani to target industrialist Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In an affidavit to the panel on October 19, Hiranandani claimed that Moitra shared with him her log-in ID and password for the Lok Sabha members' website.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already filed a preliminary FIR in the case.

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