The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly on a plea filed by Maharashtrawadi Gowantak Party (MGP) Leader Sudin Dhavalikar, seeking issuance of directions to the Speaker to decide disqualification petition filed against 2 defected MGP MLA's, pending since May 5, 2019.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramanium while issuing notice in the petition tagged it a plea pending adjudication, i.e. Girish Chodankar V. Goa State Legislative Assembly & Ors. wherein a direction has been sought to the Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly in order to take a decision on the disqualification of 10 defected Congress MLA's within one month.
The instant plea contends that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Goa has "abandoned his jurisdiction/duty to decide disqualification petition which has been pending since May 3, 2019" and that it has been more than a year since the issue surfaced.
The plea states,
"As per the mandate of the Tenth Schedule and the judgment of this Hon'ble court in Keisham Meghachandra Singh V. Hon'ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly and others, the speaker is required to decide a petition of this nature within a reasonable period of time and in any case, absent exception circumstances, within a period of 3 months."
The petitioner states that the aforesaid timeline as prescribed in law has been long breached and that the Respondent No. 1 has acted in blatant violation of Article 14 in as much as no action has at being taken by a constitutionally bound functionary".
While stating that by failing to take any steps qua disqualification of the petitioner, the Speaker of the Assembly has completely violated all principles of natural justice and rule of law as traceable to Article 14 of the Constitution.
Additionally, the plea prays that the defected MLA's be disqualified from functioning and acting as Ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly in terms of the order dated 18.03.2020 in Keisham Meghachandra Singh.
Notably, the instant petition has been tagged with Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar's plea which has also sought restraining the 10 defected MLA's to BJP from officiating as MLA's and Ministers and that the Speaker has violated the deadline of 3 months to decide disqualification which has been set by the Supreme Court in its recent ruling pertaining to the Manipur MLA Defection issue.
Chodankar's plea challenges the merger of the Congress group comprising 10 MLAs with the BJP as there was no "split" in the party or its Goa unit.
The petition also relies on observations of the Supreme Court which said Parliament should "rethink" whether the Speaker of a House should continue to have powers to disqualify lawmakers as such a functionary "belongs to a particular political party".
The instant petition has been filed by AOR D. Kumanan, Partner, Lawmen & White.