Imphal: In a significant development in the ongoing disqualification case against the seven Congress MLAs who joined BJP, the Manipur High Court on Monday restrained them from entering the state Assembly. The order is valid until further orders from the Speaker’s Tribunal on disqualification plea.
The seven MLAs who defected to the BJP include MLA Sanasam Bira Singh, MLA Ginsuanhau, MLA Oinam Lukhoi Singh, MLA Ngamthang Haokip, MLA Yengkhom Surchandra Singh, MLA Kshetrimayum Bira Singh and MLA Paonam Brojen Singh.
The Court observed that the controversy arose because of the delay by the Speaker in deciding on the petitions.
The Court further held the Speaker solely responsible for the current situation. It said that ‘the Speaker has attracted the attention of the Court on account of his failure to discharge his duties under the law.’
“It is thus seen that the High Court has the jurisdiction to exercise its power of judicial review, while the petition for disqualification is pending before the Speaker provided he has failed to decide it within a reasonable time,” read the Court ordered.
The seven defected Congress MLAs who had joined BJP will not be able to partake in voting for the state’s lone Rajya Sabha seat on June 19.
Soon after the judgment announced, Congress spokesman Ningombam Bupenda Meitei informed that the party welcomed the verdict of the Manipur High Court.
The seven Congress MLAs and former minister Th Shyamkumar Singh got elected on Congress tickets in 2017 assembly elections; however, they shifted to BJP before being formerly inducted as Congress MLAs.