SC issues notice to Goa Minister and others on Congress' plea

SC issues notice to Goa Minister and others on Congress' plea

SC issues notice to Goa Minister and others on Congress' plea

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a  notice to the Goa government, Goa Assembly speaker, Election Commission and others on a plea by the Indian National Congress seeking disqualification of Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Pratapsingh Rane.

The minister, who was elected as a Congress legislator, had resigned ahead of a floor test to help the Manohar Parrikar government to win trust vote in the Assembly and got re-elected as a BJP MLA last year.

He had then blamed the Congress leadership for failing in its efforts to form the government, despite winning 17 seats in a 40-member Assembly.

The Congress party, represented by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, claimed  that "Rane has managed to get re-elected by withholding the fact that he in collusion with others has committed a fraud on the Constitution."

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also sought a response from the state government and others on the petition.

Among others, the Congress party asked if the Speaker can accept the resignation of an MLA, who has incurred a disqualification by an act of defiance of a whip without conducting an inquiry as contemplated under the proviso to Article 190(3) (b) of the Constitution.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Rane, questioned the plea maintaining that the act of resignation was purely voluntary and cannot attract disqualification.

The petition filed by the Congress and Goa's AICC in-charge A Chella Kumar challenged the Bombay High Court's decision of October 11 last year dismissing its petition.

They contended the question arose if the pro-tem Speaker was empowered to accept the  resignation of such an MLA.