Manipur HC begins fresh hearing of petitions against seven MLAs

Correspondent IMPHAL, May 14 | Publish Date: 5/14/2020 9:53:28 AM IST

The High Court of Manipur on Thursday began hearing of petitions filed for the disqualification of seven Congress MLAs who had defected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

Seven fresh disqualification petitions were filed against the seven MLAs who had won election on Congress tickets but supported Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government and  whose disqualification cases were pending with the tribunal of Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The MLAs who defected and are facing the disqualification are; Oinam Lukhoi, Ksh Biren, Paonam Brojen, Sanasam Biramani, Ngamthang Haokip, Ginsuanhau and Y Surchandra.

A single bench of the high court conducted the hearing by clubbing together the seven separate petitions. 

The hearing was conducted in the court of Justice Kh Nobin through video conferencing, observing preventive measures to check spread of COVID-19.

All seven petitions for disqualification were filed by senior advocate and former advocate general N Ibotombi as the counsel for the petitioners.

The Congress MLAs filed the disqualification cases under 10th Schedule of Indian Constitution, popularly known as Anti-defection Law against seven of their former colleagues who are currently supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government.

They knocked on the door of the high court even as tribunal of the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly reserved the judgment of the cases seeking disqualification of the seven MLAs after hearing to preliminary objections on May 8.

The disqualifications cases against the seven MLAs were pending in the tribunal of the Speaker since the early part of 2018.

The Congress has been accusing the Speaker of delaying his decision despite a Supreme Court order to decide all cases related with the 10th Schedule of Indian Constitution within three months .

The apex court had in a judgement on January 21 asked the Speaker to take necessary action within the stipulated time while delivering judgment to a case related to the  disqualification of the then forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar. 

It was following the apex court’s intervention that the Speaker had disqualified Shyamkumar who had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party after the general election to the state Assembly held in early part of 2017.

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