SC issues notice to Goa Assembly Speaker on MLA disqualification proceedings

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Goa Assembly Speaker to respond to a plea filed by the opposition Congress party to decide on the disqualification proceedings against 10 legislators who joined the ruling BJP in July last year.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde issued formal notice to the Speaker’s office and the 10 MLAs and asked them to reply in four weeks.

State Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar has also asked the court to restrain the 10 legislators, which include three State ministers, from participating in the House proceedings during the pendency of the defection charges levelled against them.

Mr. Chodankar alleged that in July last year these 10 MLAs, purportedly claiming to form a two-third of Indian National Congress (INC), “decided to merge the said legislature party with the BJP” and accordingly addressed a communication to that effect to the Speaker.

The plea said that based on the communication, the Speaker was pleased to take note of the “alleged merger of INC’s legislative party in the Goa Legislative Assembly, and allotted the 10 seats in the Assembly along with the members of the BJP”.

Mr. Chodankar contended that the legislators in question have incurred disqualification under Article 191(2) of the Constitution, read with para 2 of the Tenth Schedule (defection), and are liable to be disqualified as members of the Legislative Assembly.

The petition refers to a recent judgment of the Supreme Court which urges Assembly Speakers to decide disqualification proceedings within a reasonable time, ideally in three months.

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