FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
Itagar, Aug 5: In a major setback to former MLA Atum Welly, the Supreme Court on Tuesday passed an order staying proceedings in his election petition pending before the Gauhati High Court against sitting MLA Kameng Dolo. Atum Welly had challenged the election of the incumbent MLA Kameng Dolo to the 12-Pakke-Kessang (ST) Legislative Assembly Constituency on the ground that unknown persons withdrew his candidature without his consent.
During the pendency of the trial, the single judge of the Gauhati High Court hearing the matter did not permit Dolo’s legal team led by Advocate Abhaya Kashyap to present certain material witnesses and hence he appealed to the Supreme Court even while the trial was still pending and on-going.
The Apex Court finding some prima facie merit in the appeal has issued notice to Welly in the matter and has also thought it deem fit to stay the trial of the election petition. Former Attorney General and leading jurist Soli Sorabjee appeared for Dolo. He argued that the procedure being followed by the single judge of the Gauhati High Court was entirely arbitrary and the election petition was not being conducted strictly in accordance with law and procedure. Dolo’s legal team is being led by Advocate Abhaya Kashyap, who is conducting the trial and has filed the appeal in the Supreme Court on behalf of Dolo told that “we were not being permitted to lead either material witnesses or expert witnesses and the manner in which the trial is being conducted left us with no choice but to approach the Supreme Court. The serious view taken by the Supreme Court is evident from the stay order and sends a strong message. An elected candidate cannot be unseated without a fair trial in accordance with principles of tural justice and fair play.”
The matter is now fixed on September 2 before the Supreme Court. This is being viewed as a major shot in the arm for Dolo whose political clout has only grown as a consequence of this order and the election petition is being viewed as political vendetta by Welly.