June 8, 2021 1:01:27 am
A plea seeking the disqualification of ten Goa Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP in 2019 is expected to be heard by a special bench of the High Court of Bombay at Goa next week. On Monday, Justice M S Sonak, presiding over the bench before which the matter was placed, recused himself from the case.
The petition filed by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar challenged the Goa Assembly Speaker’s decision to dismiss the election petition filed by him. It urged the court to quash and set aside the Speaker’s order of April 20, 2021.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who represented Chodankar with lawyer Abhijit Gosavi, sought an early hearing in the case as the term of the Assembly will end in March 2022.
A special bench of the High Court is expected to hear the case next week.
In his petition, Chodankar urged the court to set aside the order passed by Speaker Rajesh Patnekar and disqualify the ten Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP in 2019.
Chodankar’s petition stated that the Speaker’s order was “perverse, bad in law, biased and completely against the Constitutional mandate of prevention of political defection as contemplated under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India.”
Chodankar also contended: “The tenor and manner of the impugned order (Speaker’s order of April 20) makes it amply clear that the impugned order is vitiated by bias on the part of Respondent No.1 (Speaker) , and clearly a case of malice in law.”
Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly on April 20, dismissed the disqualification petitions filed against 12 MLAs – ten from the Congress and two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) – who defected to the BJP in 2019.
The Speaker’s decision came a year and a half after a preliminary hearing was held in the petition filed by Congress leader Girish Chodankar in October, 2019. Chodankar and MGP leader Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar had moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Speaker to decide the disqualification petition pending for several months.
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