Correspondent

Division bench of the court seeks all relevant documents

CUTTACK: Seizure of membership of three legislators in the Assembly inviting action under Anti-defection law would now be decided in the High Court.

A division bench of the court on Wednesday admitted a petition in this connection and issued notice to the Speaker calling for all relevant records.

The bench comprising Justice I.M. Qudusi and Justice B.N. Mohapatra after partly hearing the petition filed by Baliguda MLA Karendra Majhi adjourned the case to be heard next on April 7.

Mr. Majhi, BJP MLA, had moved the HC last week seeking seizure of memberships of three MLAs – Mahesh Sahu of Talcher, Dhaneswar Majhi of Kesinga and Pramila Giri of Baisinga – who had resigned from the party just before the March 11 confidence motion sought by Chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

“All the three legislators had won the 2004 Assembly elections from their respective constituencies on BJP ticket. But they quit the party voluntarily just prior to the trust vote was taken up.

Since the party had accepted their resignations, they should have been automatically disqualified as MLAs,” Mr. Majhi had stated in his petition.

Unconstitutional

Urging the court to declare the turncoats as ‘disqualified’ from the House, Mr Majhi had further urged the court to declare the proceedings of the Assembly as ‘unconstitutional’ in which the three members participated after their resignations were accepted by the party.

In another miscellaneous petition, Mr. Majhi had also urged the court to seize the continuance of the three political leaders as MLAs till the disposal of the main petition.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Susant Das argued that the three legislators invite action under Anti-defection law and should be disqualified as per Article 191 of the Constitution and Para-2 (a) of 10th Schedule of the Constitution.

“Even as the BJP State President brought this to the knowledge of the Speaker seeking invocation of Anti-defection Act and initiating proceedings to disqualify the three legislators, the Speaker failed to discharge his duty in judicious manner,” the counsel argued.