The Delhi high court has dismissed LJP leader Chirag Pawan's plea challenging Lok Sabha Speaker's decision to recognise Pashupati Paras as leader of party in the House.
A Bench of Justice Rekha Palli dismissed Chirag Paswan's petition saying "I find absolutely no merit in the petition." The Court noted that petitioners are trying to get the issues of the other members of the party decided by this forum.
The Court said that it is an inter se dispute as it is a legislative party and suggested that the petitioners exercise other options.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the dispute cannot be a subject matter of judicial review as out of six elected representatives of LJP, five are not with the petitioner Chirag Paswan.
Solicitor General said that the Speaker should not be a part of the hearing.
Senior Advocate Rajasehkar Rao, appearing for Lok Sabha Speaker, referred the letter written by Paras to the Lok Sabha Speaker and informed the Court that the letter says that Paras is the elected leader of the LJP. He also told the Court that five members of a legislative party had made a representation before the Speaker.
Advocate Arvind Kumar Bajpai, appearing for Chirag Pawan, said that members belong to a political party because they conducted elections on LJP name. Bajpai submitted that they are the expelled members of the party.
"Although Paras was expelled from the party, the decision taken in haste is contrary to rules, practice, and procedure and opposes the party Constitution," Bajpai told the Court.
He further told the Court that Chief Whip cannot claim that he should be declared as the leader.
The Court asked the petitioner to explore his remedies observing that this petition is not maintainable and suggested that they can go to the Election Commission instead of approaching the HC.
Pashupati Kumar Paras was among the leaders who made it to Modi's new Cabinet, after Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle. He takes over Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries. Paras has spent the larger part of his career under the shadow of his late brother Ram Vilas Paswan.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan on Wednesday tweeted that the party strongly objected to inclusion of Pashupati Kumar Paras in the Union Cabinet.
Last month, Pashupati Kumar Paras, the younger brother of LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan along with five other MPs met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and handed over a letter to him seeking removal of Chirag Paswan as party chief and as the Lok Sabha Parliamentary party leader.
Birla accepted Paras as the floor leader of the LJP in the lower house. In a revised list of floor leaders of parties, Paras was listed as the Lok Sabha LJP leader.
Later, Chirag Paswan too wrote to Birla stating that the decision of announcing Pashupati as leader of LJP in the Lower House was contrary to the provisions of the party's Constitution.
Chirag has also requested the Lok Sabha Speaker to issue a new circular in his favour as a leader of LJP in the house.
After the rebel faction of the LJP elected unopposed Paras as the new party president, Chirag Paswan had said that the election was illegal as it was conducted by members of the LJP who were suspended from the party.
The fallout between Paras and Chirag Paswan has been attributed to a range of issues including the former's dissatisfaction with his nephew's decision to break away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Bihar Assembly polls.
The LJP was formed by former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in 2000. Paswan, a heavyweight leader in Bihar politics, passed away in October 2020.