CHHANDIGARH, India, May 2, (Reuter): Eleven hardline Members of the Punjab Legislature who deserted the ruling Akali Dal Party were dismissed by the Speaker last night following a court judgment upholding an Anti-Defection Law.

The Punjab High Court rejected the petitions of the eleven members, including former Chief Minister Pradash Singh Badal, challenging the validity of India’s Antireflection Law.

The law disqualifies legislators from retaining Membership of the House if they defect from the Party for which they were elected. In February the 11 members dissociated with the ruling Akai Dal faction and proclaimed themselves as the original Akali Dal opposing the moderate Sikh Chief Minister Sujit Singh Barnala.

In a midnight order last night, Speaker Sunit Singh Minhas de clared their seats vacant on the strength of the court verdict.

One of the dismissed members Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa told Reuters in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital, that they would appeal to India’s Supreme Court.

Political analysts told Reuters the move was morale booster for Barnala who is fighting Sikh freedom fighters campaigning for a separate homeland in Punjab.

Badal and other hardline Sikhs have criticized Barnala for his failure to get greater autonomy for Punjab since his election as Chief Minister in 1985.

A Party spokesman said the sacking of the 11 legislators would strengthen Barnala’s position in the 117member House.

“We expect at least four of the dismissed legislators will rejoin the Party and will raise the ruling Party’s strength to 51 from 47 now,” the spokesman said.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 8, 1987