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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly on a plea filed by the President of Congress Party in Goa, Girish Chodankar, seeking timely decision by the Speaker on disqualification petitions filed against 10 BJP MLAs.
The Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde with Justices AS Bopanna and MR Shah issued notice to the Speaker returnable four weeks on Chodankar’s plea which prays, inter alia, for a direction to the Speaker to decide on the disqualification petitions within a period of one month.
The petitioner highlights that petitions to disqualify 10 MLAs who had moved over from the Congress party to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been lying pending before the Speaker since August of last year.
It is stated that these MLAs have ex-facie incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India for having defected from their original party to another voluntarily.
The decision of the Speaker on the issue has remained pending for as many as nine months, or seven months should the period of lockdown in Goa be excluded.
The delay in a decision on the disqualification pleas, Chodankar says, goes against the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in its decision in the case of Keisham Meghachandra Singh v Hon'ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly and Others.
It that case, the top Court had held that the Speaker must decide on such questions within a reasonable period of up to three months from the date of filing of such petitions.
The petitioner has raised grievance that not only has this timeline been breached in the instant case, but the MLAs who have given up their membership of the Congress party continued to participate in the Assembly’s proceedings during the pendency of these pleas.
In his petitioner, Chodankar has also urged the Supremre Court to direct that these MLAs be barred from participating in the House till the decision on their disqualification petitions is taken.
The petition was filed through Advocate Sahil Tagotra. The Goa Congress Chief was represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Gourab Banerji before the Court today.