Mahua Moitra case: Supreme Court seeks Lok Sabha secretary general’s reply on her plea against expulsion

The Supreme Court has asked the Lok Sabha secretary general to respond to Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra’s appeal against her expulsion from the Lower House. The plea for interim relief, allowing Moitra to attend the House proceedings, was put on hold till March by a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta. “We will consider your plea for interim relief in March,” Justice Khanna told Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Moitra.

The court also declined to issue notices to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and the Committee on Ethics of Lok Sabha, who were made party to her pleas. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Lok Sabha secretary general, asked the court to not issue a formal notice. He argued that the state should not venture into the internal matter of discipline in the sovereign organ of the state. 

The apex court eventually listed the matter for further hearing in the week starting March 11. 

Moitra was expelled from the House on December 8 for ‘unethical conduct’ following her sharing of Lok Sabha members’ portal credentials with unauthorised people. The ethics committee also recommended a government inquiry into Moitra’s “highly objectionable, unethical, heinous and criminal conduct”. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to get the TMC MP expelled following a heated debate in the Lok Sabha, where Moitra was not allowed to speak. 

The motion moved by Joshi stated that Moitra’s conduct has been found to be “unbecoming” as an MP, and reiterated the charges against her for accepting gifts and illegal gratification from a businessman to further his interest.  

Nishikant Dubey’s complaint was based on a complaint submitted by Supreme Court lawyer Jai Anant Dehadrai, who accused the MP of asking questions against Gautam Adani in the Lok Sabha in exchange for cash and gifts from businessman Darshan Hiranandani. 

Subsequently, Hiranandani, in an affidavit, claimed that Moitra had provided him with her login ID and password for the Lok Sabha members’ portal. 

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

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Mahua Moitra asked to vacate minister bungalow; Lok Sabha ethics panel writes to Housing ministry

Also read: Mahua Moitra moves Supreme Court to challenge expulsion as Lok Sabha MP

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