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GOA Defections: SC Decides to Hear Case in 2 Weeks

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The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian today (July 24) took into account the huge delay in Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar’s deciding on the disqualification petition filed against 10 BJP MLAs. The MLAs had defected from Congress. Also in the basket was the case of the defection of two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs. The bench said it was a matter of issuance of service and filing of reply and allowed time, deciding to hear the matter after two weeks.

The plea was filed by Goa Congress Chief Girish Chodankar, seeking the disposal of the issue quickly. This has been hanging for over nine months, excluding the period of lockdown. For MGP, the peas was by S. Dhavalikar, leader of the party. This disqualification petition against the two MGP MLAs for defection has been pending since May 5, 2019.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and MR Shah, by an order of June 16, had issued “early notice” returnable within four weeks, to Speaker Patnekar and the 10 MLAs, and had scheduled the hearing for August 7.

However, after request of urgent listing by the petitioner Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar, the case was listed for today. An application was made to the Registrar, Supreme Court, on July 16, by Advocate Sahil Tagotra, on behalf of the petitioner seeking urgent listing of his case stating that a delay in the listing of the case was directly violative of the judgment of the Court in ‘Keisham Meghachandra Singh vs Hon’ble Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly’.

The plea contended that the Speaker has violated the deadline of 3 months to decide on the disqualification, which has been set by the Supreme Court in its recent judgment in the Manipur MLA Defection issue.

During the hearing today, CJI Bobde noted that according to the Office Report, the service is not complete. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi requested the court for some time to file a reply.

The CJI said: “The issue has shifted from issuance of service on parties to filing of reply.”

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal insisted that the matter be heard soon, because it has been pending for long. The bench agreed to give time to the counsels to file reply and also initiate service.

– India Legal Bureau

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