HC serves notice to Speaker

Cuttack: The Odisha High Court today issued notices to the State Assembly Speaker after hearing a petition filed by BJP, which had challenged the ruling of the Speaker over the membership of Bonai MLA Bhimsen Choudhury, suspended from the party in 2010. Issuing notices to the Speaker, a division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra has fixed the next hearing of the matter after two weeks.

Speaker Pradeep Amat had last month rejected an application of BJP`s state unit president Jual Oram, who had urged the former to disqualify Choudhury as a legislator for he had seized to be a member of the House following his suspension from the party. Choudhury had defied the party whip during the 2010 Rajya Sabha elections by abstaining from voting and accordingly he was suspended from the party. Oram had urged the Speaker to disqualify Choudhury as an MLA since he had violated the anti-defection law.

But when the Speaker did not pay heed to Oram`s contention, BJP legislative secretary Karendra Majhi had approached the HC urging it to quash the Speaker`s rejection order and disqualify Choudhury as a member of assembly. Appearing for Choudhury in HC, his counsel and senior advocate Pitambar Acharya defended the action of Speaker saying the MLA has not violated any provision of anti-defection law under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.