No specific timeframe for disposal of disqualification case: Speaker’s counsel

The inaction on the part of the speaker to decide the petitions within a reasonable time or for that matter, his conduct towards disposal of the petitions is legally malafide, said the petitioners’ counsel.

The Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker will not be able to indicate the specific time period for disposal of the disqualification petition cases which are pending before him. However, he will decide the petitions as quickly as possible in accordance with law, submitted speaker’s counsel Kh Tarunkumar before the High Court of Manipur on Monday.

A bench of Justice Kh Nobin has granted time sought by the speaker’s counsel on June 10 to submit the specific time period of disqualification case disposal. On June 10, the High Court of Manipur barred seven MLAs, who had switched from Congress to BJP, from entering the Manipur Legislative Assembly until the speaker takes a final decision.

The speaker will not be able to indicate the specific time in view of the petitioners having been granted time till June 16 for filing rejoinders and moreover evidence may be required to be adduced by the parties, submitted the speaker's counsel before the High Court.

Meanwhile, the petitioners’ counsel Kapil Sibal submitted that the fact that the Speaker has failed to indicate the specific time period shows that the petitions are likely to be decided by him either on June 18 or June 19. He will reject the petitions so that the petitioners will have no sufficient time for questioning the order passed by the speaker because the election of Rajya Sabha will be held on June 19, said the counsel. The inaction on the part of the speaker to decide the petitions within a reasonable time or for that matter, his conduct towards disposal of the petitions is legally malafide, submitted the petitioners’ counsel.

It is mentioned on the court order passed on June 15 that the court is unable to understand the meaning of the expression “in accordance with law” as submitted by the speaker’s counsel. The petitioners’ counsel hoped that it will not mean and include the provision of article 14 of Indian Constitution and the judgment order of the Supreme Court passed on January 21 to decide disqualification petitions within three months is not referred by the speaker at all. The court has fixed June 19 for further consideration. 

First Published:June 17, 2020, 12:12 a.m.