Bombay HC Judge recuses from hearing Goa Congress disqualification plea

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Panaji (Goa) [India], June 8 (ANI): Justice Mahesh Sonak of the Bombay High Court at Goa, on Monday, recused himself from hearing a plea filed by the Congress challenging the decision of the Goa Speaker to dismiss the party's disqualification plea against 10 of its legislators who "defected" to the BJP.

"Justice (Mahesh) Sonak recused himself from the matter stating that he had appeared for some of the respondents earlier. The matter now will have to be listed before a special division bench, for which an appropriate request will have to be made by the petitioner," said Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar, who is the lead petitioner in the case, said that the matter would now be posted before a specially constituted bench.

The petition came up for hearing before the bench of Justice M S Sonak and Justice M S Jawalkar of the High Court of Bombay at Goa.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of Congress and the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta represented the Speaker.

Goa Speaker Rajesh Patnekar had, in mid-April, dismissed the two disqualification petitions filed by the Congress and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party who had sought the dismissal of their MLAs who "defected" to the BJP in 2019.

The Congress had sought the disqualification of its ten MLAs who defected to the BJP, claiming that they didn't attract the provisions of the anti-defection law since two-thirds of the MLAs were switching sides. However, its petition was dismissed.

The MLAs claimed before the Speaker, who was hearing the pleas, that their decision to switch was backed by a resolution of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) and hence wasn't afoul of the anti-defection law.

The Speaker's decision to dismiss the petition has now been challenged before the high court. (ANI)

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