Goa Assembly Speaker to examine disqualification plea against 10 BJP MLAs, SC told

The Goa Assembly Speaker on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the Legislative Assembly would consider on February 26 a petition filed by a Congress leader seeking disqualification of 10 MLAs, who switched to BJP in July 2019.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Assembly Speaker, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde. The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, in its order, said: “Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General appearing for the Respondent(s), states that the disqualification petition(s) has been listed by the Respondent – the Speaker Goa State Legislative Assembly, for disposal on February 26, 2021. List these matters in the first week of March.”

During the brief hearing in the matter, the bench orally stressed that the disqualification pleas should be kept for disposal. The remarks were made by the bench. Mehta said that disqualification petition would be heard on February 26. “We are saying disposal in the order,” bench observed orally.

A plea was filed by Congress leader Girish Chodankar from Goa seeking disqualification of 10 MLAs who switched to BJP from Congress in July 2019. He had argued that the disqualification pleas have been pending for one and a half years, and it is yet to be heard.

In the disqualification plea, Chodankar had contended that these MLAs had ex-facie incurred disqualification under Article 191(2) of the Constitution, read with para 2 of the Tenth Schedule. He insisted that they are liable to be disqualified as member of the Assembly.

During arguments, the Congress leader had cited the Supreme Court verdict, which ruled that the Speaker must decide disqualification matter at the earliest. “The Speaker must decide now”, said senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Chodankar, citing the decision in Keisham Meghachandra Singh v. The Hon’ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly & Others, which set a 3-month time line for the Speaker to decide on disqualification.