Time given to 10 disqualified MLAs of Goa to file reply

Disqualification plea: 10 Goa MLAs get time to file reply

Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar on Thursday heard a petition filed by the Congress, seeking disqualification of its 10 formers MLAs who joined the BJP last year.

Lawyers of the 10 respondents (MLAs) and the petitioner, Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar, appeared before the speaker.

"The ten MLAs have sought time to file their replies, which I have granted. The next date of hearing would be announced soon," Patnekar said.

Chodankar last year filed the disqualification petition against the 10 MLAs, including Goa Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar, who switched over to the BJP in July 2019.

He termed the legislators' act of joining the saffron party as "illegal".

After the hearing on Thursday, Chodankar said his lawyer informed the Speaker that a recent Supreme Court judgment emphasised that disqualification petitions should be decided within a time-frame.

"The speaker said he will take note of the SC judgment while deciding on the time (to decide on the petition)," he informed.

The Supreme Court last month asked Parliament to ponder over a speaker's power in deciding petitions seeking disqualification of lawmakers, while observing that he also belongs to a political party.

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