Manipur Assembly Speaker’s tribunal Tuesday directed the seven Congress MLAs to submit their written replies to the disqualification petitions filed against them before the conclusion of the forthcoming budget session on February 28.
Tuesday’s hearing was held after four weeks. The tribunal had to defer the case following a plea of the respondents’ counsel to give more time to file their counter affidavit.
As many as 15 petitions were filed against the seven MLAs including Forest Minister Th. Shyamkumar, under the anti-defection law. The MLAs who are facing disqualification petitions are Oinam Lukhoi, Ksh Biren, Paonam Brojen, Sanasam Bira, Ngamthang Haokip, Ginsuanhau Zou and Yengkhom Surchandra.
During the hearing that lasted for about an hour Tuesday, all the seven respondents filed preliminary objections questioning the maintainability of the petitions in all the petitions filed against them.
After hearing the counsels of both sides, the Speaker’s tribunal directed the petitioners to furnish written objections if any, to the preliminary objections filed by the respondents as early as possible before the conclusion of the forthcoming budget session of the Manipur Assembly which will commence from February 28.
On February 4, the final hearing for disqualification cases against minister Th Shyamkumar was also held following the Supreme Court order on January 21 that directed the speaker’s tribunal to decide on the disqualification cases within four weeks. However, the tribunal reserved the judgment and fixed February 12 as the deadline for filing any additional documents or written submission.
Shyamkumar, in the last election, was elected to the Manipur Legislative Assembly with Congress ticket but later change his allegiance. He was inducted as Minister in BJP led coalition Government of Manipur even before being sworn in as an MLA. Later, the seven Congress MLAs also joined the BJP in phase.
In the last Manipur Assembly election, Congress won 28 seats while the BJP secured 21 seats. However, with the support from the Congress MLA and other parties, N. Biren Singh was able to form BJP led coalition on March 15, 2017.
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