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SC issues notice to Assembly Speaker on Opposition’s plea

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt...

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: October 10, 2009 12:14:38 am

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt,on a petition moved by

Opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil in connection with a motion tabled by the Opposition for the removal of the Speaker from the Chair.

Gohil said in a statement here that in his petition,he had drawn the court’s attention to a series of alleged incidents in which,he claimed,the Speaker had taken a ‘partisan’ stance against the Opposition’s bid to raise serious issues in the Assembly. These included the hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad that killed over a hundred people,he said.

The Speaker,according to Gohil,had also rejected the Opposition’s request on an adjournment motion on the ground that it did not fulfill the condition of a notice of at least one hour.

Several Congress MLAs had been suspended from the Assembly during the Budget Session after they protested against the Speaker’s stance.

The Congress had submitted an application demanding the Speaker’s ouster from the office and it was scheduled to come up in the House on July 28 at the end of the required 14-day period.

However,the Speaker misinterpreted the constitutional requirement of a 14-day notice period and issued another letter on July 17 saying the 14-day period did not include holidays. According to the Speaker’s letter,the Congress notice was null and void as the party failed to give a notice spanning 14 working days,said Gohil.

Gohil further said the Speaker cancelled the notice,which,according to Assembly rules,cannot be cancelled but can be carried over to the next session.

“Usually,the court would not intervene in legislative matters. But,since in this case,the Assembly Speaker had arbitrarily decided to reject the motion against him in a blatant violation of the Assembly rules and Constitutional provisions,the apex court has had to act and issue the notice to Bhatt,” Gohil told The Indian Express on phone from Mumbai,where he is campaigning for his party.

Bhatt,meanwhile,said he had not yet received the notice from the Supreme Court. He said he would respond to the show-cause notice after going through its contents.

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