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Manipur HC sets aside disqualification order passed by Speaker against ex-TMC MLA

On June 18, 2020 the Manipur Speaker’s Tribunal had disqualified MLA Tongbram Robindro under anti-defection law in response to a petition filed by BJP MLA Satyabrata at the tribunal.

Written by Jimmy Leivon | Imphal |
Updated: December 6, 2021 4:17:52 pm
Tongbram Robindro Singh. (Photo: @TRobindro)

The Manipur High Court set aside the order of Speaker Y. Khenchand Singh disqualifying former Trinamool Congress MLA Tongbram Robindro Singh.

The order was passed by the double bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran. “There is a clear and flagrant violation of the principles of natural justice and the petitioner, an elected member of the Assembly, was divested of his position without even being put on notice and being given an opportunity of hearing, basing on newspaper reports which remained untested,” said the order.

On June 18, 2020 the Manipur Speaker’s Tribunal had disqualified MLA Tongbram Robindro under anti-defection law in response to a petition filed by BJP MLA Satyabrata at the tribunal.

Robindro was elected as MLA from Thanga Assembly Constituency on a Trinamool Congress ticket in the last Assembly election. Later, he joined the BJP after dissolving the state unit of the party.

However, on June 17, he left the BJP and declared his support to the Congress party two days before the election to the lone Rajaya Sabha seat.

The allegation against the petitioner was that he had voluntarily given up the BJP, his original political party, and had supported the Congress. The Speaker of the Assembly placed reliance on three local newspapers and concluded that the petitioner had voluntarily given up his original party. It was on this basis that the Speaker held that the petitioner had violated the provisions of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India and disqualified him from being a member of the Legislative Assembly.

In his petition, Tongbram Robindro asserted that he was disqualified without an opportunity of being heard. Moreover, he pointed out that the disqualification case was not even listed in the cause list of the Assembly and claimed to have known of the disqualification when the voter list for the Rajya Sabha poll was issued.
The court order stated that the respondents (Speaker, secretary of Manipur Assembly, BJP MLA Satyabrata) failed to file counter affidavits despite ample opportunity being given.

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