Goa Speaker asked to rule on plea to disqualify 10 BJP MLAs by Apr 20
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Goa Assembly Speaker to pass order on April 20 on the plea filed by a Congress leader seeking disqualification of 10 party MLAs, who switched to the ruling BJP in July 2019.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said there should be not long delays in deciding the matter as after April 24, following the Chief Justice's retirement on April 23, the matter will not be heard by the same bench.
As Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted the Speaker has agreed to pass the order on the disqualification petitions on April 20, the bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 21.
During the hearing, the bench observed that the Solicitor General can ask the Speaker to decide the matter. Mehta said he will seek instructions and urged the top court to list the matter for hearing on either April 22 or April 23.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Congress leader Girish Chodankar, submitted that orders must be passed at least in a week and the delay in deciding the matter is making mockery of the whole procedure. He argued that in the absence of the Speaker's decision, the matter cannot be argued on merits.
The top court asked Mehta to seek instructions once again from the Speaker on the possibility of passing the order on April 20, and he informed them that the Speaker has agreed to do so.
On February 10, Speaker Rajesh Patnekar had informed the Supreme Court that the Assembly would consider on February 26 the petition filed by the Congress leader seeking disqualification of 10 MLAs.
The top court, in its order then, said: "Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General appearing for the Respondent(s), states that the disqualification petition(s) has been listed by the Respondent - the Speaker Goa State Legislative Assembly, for disposal on February 26, 2021. List these matters in the first week of March."
A plea was filed by Congress leader Chodankar seeking disqualification of 10 MLAs who switched to BJP from Congress in July 2019. He had argued that the disqualification pleas have been pending for one and a half years, and it is yet to be heard.
In the disqualification plea, Chodankar had contended that these MLAs had ex-facie incurred disqualification under Article 191(2) of the Constitution, read with para 2 of the Tenth Schedule.
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