Fate of MLAs merged in BJD to be determined in Speaker

Bhubaneswar:  Following Supreme Court’s March 13 observation in four NCP MLAs’ merger issue, Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on Friday will hear on membership disqualification of the legislators who merged in BJD. After taking cognizance of both sides, the Speaker is expected to determine fate of the lawmakers.

NCP president of Odisha unit, Utkal Keshari Parida, and four legislators- Amar Prasad Satpathy, Prasant Nanda, Ramachandra Hansda and Naveen Nanda- will appear before the Speaker’s court with their legal counsels, sources said. While advocate Gopal Agarwal will argue on behalf of Parida, lawyer Pitambar Acharya will present Speaker’s side. Similarly, the four MLAs can put forward their views through their respective lawyers.

Earlier Parida had moved the High Court seeking membership disqualification of the four MLAs after the legislators merged in BJD on June 5, 2012. The HC, in its hearing on September 27, 2012, had directed the Speaker to decide on the issue within eight weeks.

The Speaker had challenged HC order in Supreme Court through a special leave petition (SLP) which too was upheld in the apex court on January 17, 2013. Even as the Speaker had again prayed the apex court for review of its order of January 17, the court again turned down the review petition asking him to decide on the disqualification issue within eight weeks.

On the other hand, the HC will hear the contempt of court petition against Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat.  Prompted by the apex court’s judgment and the inordinate delay in carrying out the order on the issue, Parida had filed a contempt of court petition in the HC.