Updated: February 25, 2021 6:48:50 am
Two days before the Goa Assembly Speaker was expected to take a decision on the disqualification of ten Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP after the legislative assembly poll results were declared in July, 2019, he on Wednesday filed an application seeking a clarification on the Supreme Court’s order passed on February 10.
Speaker Rajesh Patnekar has stated that while he will hear all the respondents in the disqualification petitions on February 26 “it may not be possible to complete and conclude the proceedings in one day i.e. on 26.02.2021”.
In his application, the Speaker has stated that the court had recorded a statement made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on February 10. “Mr Tushar Mehta, the Ld. Solicitor General appearing for the respondent/s states that the disqualification petition/s has been listed by the respondent — speaker Goa state legislative assembly, for disposal on 26.2. 2021”, the court had noted in its order.
The Speaker listed out the chronology of events since the disqualification petition was filed by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar. Chodankar had filed a disqualification petition against the ten turncoats before the Speaker on August 8, 2019. Citing delay in taking the decision, Chodankar had urged the SC to direct the Speaker to decide on his petition.
The Speaker stated that a preliminary hearing was held on October 15, 2019 and informed all parties that the petitions would be decided on February 2, 2020 after which the respondent MLAs sought five weeks to file their replies. The matter was then fixed for hearing on March 16, 2020.
“However, on account of the nationwide lockdown and some MLAs also testing positive for Covid-19, the matter was adjourned by the Speaker. Hence, now the Speaker has resumed the proceedings and has issued notice for the hearing to be conducted before him on 26.02.2021…” the Speaker’s application stated. He also mentioned that he was himself hospitalised from August 25, 2020 to September 3, 2020. After the four-day session of the Assembly concluded on January 29, the Speaker had issued notices to parties for further hearing of the disqualification petitions on February 26.
Seeking a ‘suitable correction’ to the SC’s February 10 order, the application stated, “In these circumstances it may not be possible to complete and conclude the proceedings in one day i.e. on 26.02.2021. That since the order dated 10.02.2021 has recorded that the proceedings would be disposed on 26.02.2021, it was deemed necessary and appropriate that above facts be brought to the notice of this Hon’ble Court.”
The Supreme Court is expected to hear the matter in the first week of March.
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