IMPHAL: The Manipur High Court on Monday restrained the seven Congress MLAs, who joined the BJP in 2017, from entering the State Assembly till the Speaker's tribunal hears their disqualification case, a court official said.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the political tussle over the disqualification of seven legislators, who supported the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, went to the High Court even as the Speaker's tribunal was looking into the issue.
A Manipur High Court official said that after hearing both sides, Justice K. H. Nobin Singh, in his six-page order, restrained the seven MLAs, who had "defected" to the BJP, from entering the Assembly.
"The Manipur Assembly Speaker is directed to ensure compliance of this order by all concerned," the order said.
The High Court held that the Speaker had failed to take a decision about the petitions filed by the Congress within a reasonable time. It said that the Speaker had not disposed of the petitions as mandated in Article 14 of the Constitution, despite the petitions having been filed on November 8, 2018.
The opposition Congress had, in January this year, moved the Supreme Court for disqualification of the seven MLAs who joined the BJP after winning in the 2017 Assembly polls on its ticket.
Manipur Speaker Y. Khemchand Singh, after hearing the matter, had on May 8 reserved decision.
Congress' Manipur spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei said that senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing in the high court through video conferencing, argued for disqualification of seven MLAs.
"As the Manipur Speaker despite Supreme Court's order did not take any action about the disqualification of seven legislators, the Congress leaders filed a petition before the Manipur High Court," Meitei told the media.
"I am sure that Congress would win the Rajya Sabha election from Manipur on June 19. We look forward to see a new Congress-led coalition government in Manipur soon. Day by day, the ruling coalition is being weakened numerically and politically in Manipur," Meitei said adding that the Speaker has been delaying his decision despite the Supreme Court's order to decide on the disqualification at the earliest. (IANS)