Speaker should decide on disqualification of MLAs: Goa Cong

Congress state president Girish Chodankar on Friday urged Speaker of the state Legislative Assembly Rajesh Patnekar to deliver his order on the disqualification petition filed against 10 now-former Congress MLAs at the earliest.

Speaking to reporters after a hearing in the matter at the Assembly complex, Chodankar also accused Patnekar of dragging his feet over the issue and said that the Speaker’s office had crossed the limit of three months set by the apex court to decide on matters related to the disqualification of elected representatives.

“We have requested the Speaker to deliver judgement as early as possible,” Chodankar said.

Chodankar, as the party’s state president had filed a disqualification petition with the Goa Speaker’s office in 2019 and argued the split by the 10 MLAs and their subsequent merger into the BJP was illegal and violative of the provisions of Schedule 10 of the Indian Constitution.

Chodankar has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Goa Speaker to speed up the process of hearing in the disqualification petition case.

The top Congress official also said that when the Speaker has already reserved the case for judgement, calling for a hearing on Friday to rule on technicality issues was infructuous.

During the hearing, Patnekar had dismissed a past application filed by Chodankar’s lawyer Abhijit Gosavi seeking to produce on record a resolution of the state Congress Committee related to the disqualification of the 10 MLAs.

“The Supreme Court’s outer limit of three months has lapsed. The Speaker is not fulfilling his Constitutional mandate. We do not expect anything positive from the Speaker. The Speaker has to dispose of this petition in whatever way he wants, whether in our favour or not in our favour. He is protecting MLAs, who conducted the alleged merger. Today’s hearing was a time consuming exercise,” Chodankar said.