The Manipur High Court on Monday ordered the speaker of the state legislative assembly not to allow the seven Congress MLAs, who defected to the BJP, from entering the Assembly. The development comes ahead of the crucial 19 June Rajya Sabha polls.
“Thereof with the direction that unless and until the petitions are decided and disposed of finally by the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly, the private respondents namely Sanasam Bira Singh, MLA; Ginsuanhau, Oinam Lukhoi Singh, Ngamthang Haokip, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh, Kshetrimayum Bira Singh and Paonam Brojen Singh are restrained from entering the Manipur Legislative Assembly. Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly is directed to ensure compliance of this order by all concerned,” read the order passed by Justice K. Nobin Singh.
These seven lawmakers had helped formation of the BJP-led government in the state after the Assembly election in 2017, in which the Congress emerged as the single largest party. In November 2018, a petition at the high court was filed against the seven Congress MLAs.
The order was passed after Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand Singh failed to pass a decision on a petition filed at this office seeking disqualification of these MLAs. The High Court further observed the Speaker's action as 'legally malafide'.
“In K. Meghachandra Singh (supra), the Supreme Court, while partly allowing the Civil Appeals arising out of SLP (C) No.18659 of 2019 vide its judgment and order dated 21-01-2020, directed the Speaker to decide the petitions within four weeks from the date on which it was intimated to him. Since the Speaker failed to decide the same within the time as directed, the Supreme Court passed an order dated 18-03-2020 directing that Shyamkumar Singh be restrained from entering the Manipur Legislative Assembly until further order. The Supreme Court has also observed that what is reasonable will depend on the facts of each case but absent exceptional circumstances for which there is good reason, a period of three months from the date on which the petition is filed, is the outer limit within which the petition must be decided by the Speaker” the order said.
Earlier in March, the Supreme Court, in a rare move, invoked its plenary powers disqualified Congress MLA Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh who had supported the BJP led government and was a minister for municipal administration, housing and urban development in the N Biren Singh government. Mr Shyamkumar had resigned as an MLA after the Supreme Court verdict.
Congress MP and party's Manipur in-charge Gaurav Gogoi reacted to the order saying that the Manipur High Court judgment proves that the BJP government is totally illegitimate and has no rights to continue.