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Disqualification of 10 MLAs petition row: SC adjourns Girish Chodankar’s plea to expedite decision   

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Panaji: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned to February a plea led by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar seeking for a direction to the Goa Assembly Speaker to dispose of the disqualification which has been led against 10 MLAs who shifted from Congress to Bharatiya Janta Party expeditiously. Chodankar has approached the Court submitting that despite express orders from the Supreme Court on August 11, 2020 that the plea should be listed after two weeks, the plea was not being listed by the Supreme Court Registry.

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and, Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian heard the matter on Monday and informed the Counsels that “no one could have a vested right in delay”.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chodankar, informed the Bench that the disqualification petition had been led in 2019, and one and a half years had gone by with the Goa Assembly Speaker not having taken a decision.

“A judgement of this Supreme Court now states that the Speaker must decide at the earliest. The Speaker must decide now”, Sibal stated citing the last year’s decision in Keisham Meghachandra Singh versus Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker and others which set a 3-month time line for the Speaker to decide on disqualications. To this, CJI Bobde noted that “no one could have a vested right in delay” and proceeded to adjourn the matter to February second week.

The petition, led against the Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly and ten MLAs, states that the MLAs had shifted from Congress to BJP. Accordingly, a disqualification petition was led against them for defection before the Speaker. However, despite the same having been led in 2019, the plea is yet to be heard.

On August 11, 2020, a Bench headed by CJI Bobde ordered for the listing of the matter after a period of two weeks. Chodankar had approached the Court in November, submitting in his plea that despite being listed in the tentative hearing list 18 times since August 2020, his plea never made it to the final list.

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