NPF petition awaits Speaker’s nod

Correspondent KOHIMA, APR 28 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/28/2019 12:12:09 PM IST

After disqualification petition moved by NPF against seven of its MLAs on April 24, the speaker of Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) is expected to give a decision in the next four months in keeping with a Supreme Court ruling.

The disqualification process was made by the NPF legislature on being okayed by the NPF party president. The seven were earlier served with show cause notices after they had on March 25 announced support to rival NDPP/PDA candidate for the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat in defiance of their party’s decision to support Congress candidate.

Speaking to Nagaland Post, NPF spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon said the suspension of the seven MLAs remains in force till further notice. He also said the disqualification petition was addressed to the Speaker through the NLA secretary.

While regretting the decision of the seven MLAs to openly declare support to the rival party candidate, Kikon said the MLAs had no power to defy the decision of the party at any cost.

He said that while the disqualification petition was in Speaker’s court now, Achumbemo also said the Speaker’s decision cannot be unchallenged. He cited the judgment of Supreme Court (SC) in Kihoto Hollohon Vs Union of India case of February 18, 1992 wherein the apex court had set a principle that Speaker’s decision was subject to judicial scrutiny.

Kikon said that prior to Kihoto Hollohon’s case, the Speaker’s decision could not be challenged in any court– High Court or Supreme Court. However, since 1992, the Speaker’s decision is not final since it is now subject to judicial scrutiny. 

He also said Speakers used to delay the matter even after filing of disqualification petitions and take time to decide. Kikon said the Supreme Court in yet another decision had stated that Speakers cannot keep the disqualification petitions pending for more than four months. 

Whether the decision goes either way, he said a Speaker has to give his decision within four months. 

Kikon also said while commenting on the Tenth Schedule, the apex court had ruled that Speaker’s decision was not final because many a times the speakers gave biased decisions. Thus, a Speaker’s decision can now be challenged in the courts, he added. 

Kikon said that as NLA rules stipulate that the disqualification petition has to be filed through the NLA secretary by a member of the Assembly, he said the NPF party followed the rule and authorised its legislature wing to file the petition.

He also said the party had waited for one month for the seven MLAs to return back to the party fold.

Kikon said NPF has reports from various divisions that the rebel MLAs went against the party and had even directed the division office bearers and central office bearers representing their constituencies to vote against the Congress candidate supported by NPF.

Regretting the move of the seven MLAs, Kikon said though the party has soft corner for them, the MLAs have to know that they were bound by rules and conventions. 

Kikon exuded confidence that the Speaker will deliver fair judgment within the given time frame.

Meanwhile, when contacted, one of the seven rebel MLAs said their stand remained unchanged as announced through a statement issued on March 25. He said they decided to support the PDA consensus candidate as NPF did not put up its own candidate.

NLA officials could not be contacted till the time of filing this report.

It may be recalled that the seven NPF MLAs-- Kejong Chang, (54 Tuensang Sadar II A/C), E.E. Pangteang (48 Moka A/C), Eshak Konyak (47 Aboi A/C), C.L. John (45 Tehok A/C), B.S. Nganlang (Tamlu A/C), N. Thongwang Konyak (Mon Town A/C) and Toyang Chang (53 Tuensang Sadar-I A/C) in a  joint statement had also declared their appreciation of the PDA government for all the developmental and progressive initiatives carried out till date under the leadership of chief minister, Neiphiu Rio.

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