IMPHAL: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the political tussle over the disqualification of seven legislators, who supported Manipur's ruling BJP, went to the High Court, which would hear the case on Friday, Court officials said on Wednesday.
A Manipur High Court official said that after hearing the both sides on Wednesday, Justice KH Nobin Singh has decided to hear the disqualification matter on Friday. The Opposition Congress had, in January this year, moved the Supreme Court for disqualification of seven MLAs who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (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 on the disqualification of seven Congress legislators.
Congress' Manipur spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei said that on Wednesday, 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. Now the High Court would take appropriate steps on the issue," Meitei told the media.
"The Speaker has been delaying his decision despite the Supreme Court's order to decide on the disqualification at the earliest," Meitei said.
The seven Congress MLAs had joined the BJP as it was short of 10 MLAs to form the government in the 60-member house after the 2017 Assembly polls.
In another development, as the High Court has fixed June 5 for next hearing into the matter, Manipur Speaker's Tribunal issued a notice on Wednesday stating that the order on preliminary objections related to pending disqualification matters would be passed by it on Saturday.
In the 2017 polls, the Congress had won 28 seats and the BJP 21. However, the latter formed the government with the support of rebel Congress MLAs, apart from the National People's Party (NPP), headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, and the Naga People's Front. (IANS)