Panaji, May 3 (IANS): The Goa bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday disposed off the petition filed by the senior Congress leader Girish Chodankar, seeking directions to the Assembly Speaker to decide on the disqualification petition against eight party members who switched to BJP in a time-bound manner.
Advocate Abhijit Gosavi, representing Chodankar, speaking to reporters, said that the state government had contended that the High Court cannot direct the Speaker.
"However, the division bench of the High Court stated that it is bound by the Keisham Meghachandra Singh judgement and as the speaker acts like a tribunal while deciding on a disqualification petition, the court can direct him," Gosavi said.
"On the affidavit, the Speaker had stated that he is in process of deciding the petition filed (in July) by Congress Goa Chief Amit Patkar first... but the court has said that it hopes that whatever statement (on deciding expeditiously), the Speaker has made in affidavit will be adhered and follow judgment by the Supreme Court in the Keisham Meghachandra Singh case," Gosavi further said.
Chodankar said that Amit Patkar had initially filed a disqualification petition against two MLAs (Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo), while later he (Chodankar) had filed disqualification against all eight MLAs who had joined BJP. "These petitions are pending before Speaker since long and he has to decide on it on time bound manner," Chodankar said.
Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Rajesh Faldesai, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes the BJP, reducing Congress to 3 MLAs in 40-member Assembly.
Subsequent to this political development, which reduced Congress' numbers in the Assembly, Chodankar had filed a disqualification petition against these eight MLAs before the speaker.