New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday gave all four Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislators four weeks time to reply, who had joined the ruling BJD in June 2012.

The apex court directive followed its adjudication over a fresh petition by NCP state president Utkal KeshariParida seeking disqualification of Ramachandra Hansda (Saraskana), Amar Satpathy (Badachana), Nabin Nanda (Gondia) and Prashant Nanda (Begunia).

The four had quit NCP and merged with BJD in the wake of the alleged coup bid by Rajya Sabha MP and the Odisha Jana Morcha chief Pyarimohan Mohapatra against chief minister Naveen Patnaik when the latter was in his abroad trip.

Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat’s May 3 judgement rejecting disqualification of the four lawmakers under the anti-defection law had prompted Parida to move the SC.

After the speaker did not respond to his plea, Parida moved the high court. On September 27, 2012, the high court directed the speaker to hear Parida's petition within eight weeks, prompting Amat to move the apex court.

The speaker contended that Parida not being a member of the state legislature cannot raise the disqualification issue and urged the apex court to quash the HC order.

The apex court upheld the high court order on January 17 and directed the speaker to decide on the matter within eight weeks.