PANAJI: The B bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa will continue to hear the disqualification matter tomorrow against eight MLAs who defected from Congress to BJP last September.
The arguments in the disqualification matter were completed today, and all eyes are on the Bench on whether it will pass the directions to the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly to hear the case in a time-bound manner.
The Goa speaker has told the Bombay high court at Goa that, as per precedents, the high court should refrain from issuing directions to dispose of a disqualification petition in a time-bound manner.
The matter relates to a petition by former Congress president Girish Chodankar who sought that the high court must direct the Speaker to dispose of the petitions pending before him in a time-bound manner.
“The Speaker has taken a stand that such a direction can never be issued to a Speaker because the Speaker is a constitutional authority, and the courts will not take up a case before the Speaker does or passes any order,” argued advocate general Devidas Pangam, who represented the Speaker.
On behalf of Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, advocate Pangam said that till then the court should restrain itself from interfering with the proceedings at the stage prior to the Speaker taking any decision.
Central to the Congress argument is that the Speaker has violated the deadline of three months set by the Supreme Court in the Manipur case. Chodankar has pointed to a precedent, he said, was set by the Supreme Court, when they directed the Manipur Speaker to dispose of disqualification petitions with an outer limit of three months.
Constitutional Pundit Advocate Cleofato Almeida Coutinho said that the Speaker, who serves as a tribunal for deciding matters under the disqualification law, was subject to the orders of the courts.
“No doubt the Speaker is a constitutional authority, but for the purposes of the anti-defection law (tenth schedule of the constitution), the Speaker functions like a tribunal and is expected to function within the four corners of adjudication. If that is not done, the High Court or the Supreme Court can and has intervened like has been done in the case of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur,” Adv Coutinho said.