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MPA goes to court on PR; Chatterjee skeptical
Correspondent/Agencies SHILLONG, MAR 23 :
Published on 24 Mar. 2009 12:55 AM IST
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Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) Monday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. Former Meghalaya Education Minister and MPA legislator Manas Chaudhuri said that the writ petition has been registered in the Supreme Court. He said the writ petition was filed by Supreme Court lawyer, Amit Kumar on behalf of the MPA while distinguished lawyer Ram Jethmalani will argue when the writ petition comes for hearing. The MPA will also be filing two special leave petitions in the SC Tuesday challenging the Shillong Bench of High Court order staying the suspension of two legislators –Paul Lyngdoh and Limison Sangma- by Meghalaya Assembly Speaker, Bindo M Lanong. On March 19, the MPA government was dismissed after President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil issued the proclamation of imposing President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution on the recommendation of Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary, who stated that the ‘constitutional machinery’ had broken down in the state. The MPA had termed the imposition of the President’s Rule as “highly questionable and unconstitutional act” of the state governor after the Donkupar Roy-led MPA coalition government won the confidence motion with the help of the Speaker’s vote on March 17. Mooshahary, had defended his recommendations to the Centre and stated that there was a breakdown of ‘’constitutional machinery’’. The Congress, which is the single largest party, but out of power, had denied any role on the imposition of President’s Rule and asserted that the party was not involved in toppling the year-old Donkupar Roy-led ministry. Meanwhile, the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court today deferred the hearing on a petition filed by the three Meghalaya legislators – Deputy Speaker and NCP MLA Sanbor Shullai, HSPDP MLA Dr Adviser Pariong and Independent MLA Ismail R Marak - who were put under interim suspension by Assembly Speaker. The Court will hear the case of Shullai on March 25, while the case of Dr Pariong and Marak will be heard on March 27. Somnath criticises The suspension of five MLAs in the Meghalaya Assembly before the trust vote was criticised by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee who said that the Assembly Speaker had no power in this regard. Observing that there was no scope of suspension of a member under the Tenth Schedule, he said, “I have grave doubts. There is no power with the Speaker. The Speaker just cannot suspend a member on his own.” The Speaker suspended five MLAs, who withdrew support to the government, under the Anti-Defection Law ignoring the Governor’s directive that he maintain status quo on the voting rights of members and cast his vote when there was a 27:27 tie in the 60-member House during division. Following the controversial vote, President’s rule was imposed and the assembly was kept under suspended animation. Chatterjee said that no Speaker has the right to pass interim order for suspension of a member without a proper hearing. “There is a big question mark on the jurisdiction of the Speaker to pass an interim order which is not in consonance with the Tenth Schedule,” Chatterjee said.

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