Congress’ Goa unit chief Girish Chodankar has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order, which junked a plea seeking disqualification of 12 Assembly members for defecting from his party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) to the ruling BJP in 2019.
This comes ahead of the counting of votes for the new 40-member Goa Assembly on Thursday.
The plea contended that the Speaker allowed protection to the Congress defectors, by invoking protection guaranteed to a legislature party member when the original party of a member merges with another party. The plea sought the apex court’s intervention, claiming the high court order could lead to political chaos and also pointed out that the Speaker held that the “deemed merger” of Congress with the BJP had taken place.
The plea said that this deemed merger was in teeth of the decisions passed by the same high court.
It further argued the order would further promote evils of defections, which would be at loggerheads with the very object sought to be achieved through Tenth Schedule (anti defection law) of the Constitution.
On February 24, the Bombay High Court at Goa dismissed the disqualification pleas and upheld the decision of the Goa Speaker.
The petitioner claimed that the high court gave an erroneous interpretation on the premise that MLAs constituted two-third of their party and merged with another party, which ensured protection under para 4 of the Tenth Schedule.
In 2017 Goa polls, the Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 seats. However, the BJP forged an alliance to form the government. Later, a number of Congress MLAs quit the party, which reduced its strength in the House.