Centre questions maintainability of plea in HC to prevent J&K MPs from entering Parliament

NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (Agencies): The Centre questioned in the Delhi High Court on Monday the maintainability of a plea seeking to prevent MPs from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir from entering the Parliament, alleging that they are continuing to hold their seats illegally after the disbanding of the state.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, represented by central government standing counsel Anil Soni, contended that the petitioner — a retired professor — ought to have first made a representation to the authorities before approaching the court. The petitioner contended that 10 MPs, including Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and National Conference chairman Farooq Abdullah, from Jammu and Kashmir were continuing in their positions and enjoying all the perks associated with the office at the expense of the state exchequer.

Justice Brijesh Sethi heard both sides and reserved judgement in the matter. The petition by professor Abdul Gani Bhat has alleged that the 10 MPs, four in the Rajya Sabha and six in the Lok Sabha, from the erstwhile state are “illegally” continuing in their seats in Parliament. It has sought directions to the central government not to allow the 10 MPs to enter Parliament. It has further alleged that “presence of the 10 MPs from the erstwhile state in the Parliament was immoral, illegal and unconstitutional”.

The plea has sought that they be stopped from enjoying the salary, perks and other facilities granted to MPs. Parliament on August 5 last year had abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted a special status to the state, and had reorganised it into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

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