HC directs Speaker to dispose petition within 8 weeks

Cuttack: Orissa High Court on Thursday directed the state Legislative Assembly Speaker to dispose of within eight weeks a petition filed by state NCP president seeking disqualification of four former party MLAs.

Parida had petitioned the Speaker under Article 191 of the Constitution and the Rules governing thereof seeking disqualification of all four NCP MLAs, who had voluntarily given up their memberships from the party and had joined the ruling BJD in the state earlier this year.

Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat had, however, not paid any heed to the petition of Parida saying that he was not a member of the Assembly and hence he (Parida) cannot seek any relief from the Speaker under Article 191 of the Constitution.

But a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B K Mishra on Thursday overruled the objection filed by the Speaker and observed that any interested person can petition the Speaker seeking disqualification of any member of the House on the ground of defection as per the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

Four NCP MLAs – Amar Prasad Satapathy, Ramachandra Hansda, Prashanta Nanda and Nabin Nanda – had joined the ruling BJD.

Parida, a former legislator last month had petitioned the Speaker seeking disqualification of the four MLAs as they had voluntarily given up the membership of the party that had helped them to become legislators. But when Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat did not take any cognizance of Parida’s petition, he chose to approach the High Court.