After the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly dismissed the disqualification petition filed by the MGP’s Sudin Dhavalikar and the GPCC president Girish Chodankar, the 12 MLs got another reprieve today as the Supreme Court also cancelled all matters due to COVID19 cases.
“The matters shown in the final cause lists of miscellaneous matters and regular hearing matters for 22.04.2021 (Thursday) will not be taken up for hearing and the same stand adjourned,” said SC registrar Anil Laxman Pansare.
Nudged by the Supreme Court, the Goa Assembly Speaker on Wednesday pronounced his decision on the disqualification petitions filed against 10 former Congress MLAs who ‘merged’ with the BJP in 2019 from April 29 to April 20.
Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Speaker’s office, whether the initial date of April 29 was fixed with an eye on the fact that he would retire on April 23.
“You want the matter to go to another Bench, which will have to hear the case all over again,” Chief Justice Bobde, who heads the three-judge Bench hearing the case, asked the law officer.
The CJI retires tomorrow and the case will go to another bench now.
The court said the Speaker had reserved the disqualification proceedings for orders on February 26… April 29 is not acceptable by this Bench… Ask him [Speaker] to dispose of the petition preferably this week itself,” Chief Justice Bobde told Mr. Mehta.
On January 4, the CJI had orally observed that “nobody can have a vested right to delay” a plea filed by Goa Congress leader Girish Chodankar challenging the Speaker’s delay of over 19 months to decide the disqualification petitions.
Mr. Chodankar had alleged that the 10 MLAs, purportedly claiming to form a two-third of Indian National Congress (INC) in the State, “decided to merge the said legislature party with the BJP” and addressed a communication to that effect to the Speaker.
The plea said 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 MLAs seats in the Assembly along with the members of the BJP”.
Mr. Chodankar has contended “that the legislators ex facie 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 member of the Legislative Assembly”.
The petition has referred to a recent judgment of the Supreme Court which urges Speakers to decide disqualification proceedings within a reasonable time, ideally three months.