New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly on a plea filed by Girish Chodankar, President of the Congress Goa unit, seeking timely decision on the disqualification petitions filed against 10 BJP MLAs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and M.R. Shah issued the notice, returnable in four weeks, to the Speaker.
The petitioner has urged the apex court to pass direction to the Speaker to decide on the disqualification petitions within a period of one month. The petition argued that the matter of the MLAs who had switched from the Congress to the BJP, has been pending before the Speaker since August 2019.
The delay in taking a decision on the disqualification pleas, the petition argued, has gone against the principle laid down by the apex court in the case of Keisham Meghachandra Singh vs Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly and others.
The petitioner argued that in this case, the timeline prescribed by the apex court has been long breached. And, during the pendency of the matter, the MLAs continue to participate as members of the Legislative Assembly, despite having ex-facie incurred a disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution and in fact, three are even ministers in the government.
The petitioner insisted that MLAs have ex-facie incurred disqualification for having defected from their original party to another party voluntarily.
“Article 191 specifically provides that any person who is disqualified under the 10th Schedule is disqualified from being a member of the Legislative Assembly, and consequently cannot participate in the proceedings of the Assembly. However, during the pendency of the said petition and by restraining from deciding the same, the Respondent Nos. 2 to 11 (MLAs) continue to participate as member of the state Legislative Assembly,” said the plea.
The petitioner contended before the court that the decision of the Speaker on the issue has remained pending for as many as nine months, or seven months, after excluding the lockdown period in Goa. The plea argued that the apex court had held that the Speaker must decide on such matters within three months.