Hearing on disqualification of 9 Keonjhar councillors ends in SEC

Keonjhar: The hearing in connection with the violation of anti-defection law by nine councilors of Keonjhar Muncipality concluded at the State Election Commission’s (SEC) on Wednesday. However, the SEC has reserved its verdict as a case pertaining to the same is under consideration in the Orissa High Court.

During the final hearing of the SEC, both sides appeared before the commission and presented their case. The former chairman of Keonjhar Municipality Mina Majhi and councilors who voted in the No-Trust motion were present during the hearing.

Meanwhile, the chairman’s post is still vacant after Majhi lost the trust vote and relinquished her post. In such a scenario, the municipality administration has written to the collector urging him to give the vice-chairman of the municipality temporary charge of the Chairman’s post.

It may be recalled that nine rebel councilors of the municipality were charged with violation of anti-defection law as per the amendment to Section 17 of the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 (Odisha Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2015

The nine BJD councillors—Sushree Sangeeta Nanda, Dillip Kumar Behera, Swarnalata Sahu, Prabhati Patnaik, Sabita Sethi, Kumudini Nayak, Satrughna Nayak, Sunil Kumar Nayak and Kuna Naik— had urged the SEC not to disqualify them under the amended law.

The rebel councilors had argued that disqualification is not applicable in their case as they had moved the no-confidence motion against the chairperson, who belongs to BJD, before the amended provision of the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 came into force with effect from December 19 last year.

It may be mentioned that the chairperson of Kendujhargarh Municipality Meena Majhi had lost the no-trust motion after 15 councilors voted against her on December 28.