New Delhi: Girish Chodankar, president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee, has approached the Supreme Court with a complaint against its registry for not listing his petition related to the disqualification of Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP last year.
In an application filed on 20 November, Chodankar said that his petition was listed 18 times in the tentative work-list that is issued by the SC registry from time-to-time, but never made it to the final listing of cases.
This happened even though a bench led by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had explicitly ordered the listing of the matter after two weeks during the last hearing on 11 August.
In his petition filed on 1 June, Chodankar had asked the apex court to direct Goa Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patneka to expedite his decision on the disqualification of the 10 Congress MLAs who had defected to the BJP in July 2019. The disqualification petitions of these MLAs have been pending with the Speaker since August 2019.
Chodankar’s advocate approached registry 12 times
According to the application, Chodankar’s advocate-on-record (AOR) reached out to registry officials, through applications and emails, 12 times for the listing of his case.
Despite his “relentless and unceasing effort,” the only response the lawyer got was that his request was under consideration with the listing department that lists cases for hearings on particular dates, based on court orders.
The application noted that the matter was reflected in the tentative list for hearing once in August, five times in September, seven in October and on four occasions in November.
In the last tentative list, Chodankar’s petition was to be taken up Monday. However, it was once again dropped when the final work-list was out on 20 November.
Don’t want matter to become ‘infructuous’ as it did in MP
Chodankar has petitioned the court to give the Speaker a month’s deadline to decide the disqualification petitions filed on 8 August 2019 or, alternatively, direct him to restrain the rebel MLAs from participating in the proceedings of the legislative assembly within a period of seven days.
His contention is that the Speaker’s “deliberate inaction and indecision amounts to breach of duty reposed in him under the tenth schedule”.
The law does not lay down a timeframe for the Speaker to decide disqualification petitions. However, the petition asserts, the Speaker must do so in a reasonable time, which it said is 90 days, according to an earlier Supreme Court judgment.
CJI Bobde’s bench had, on 6 June, issued notices on the petition. Thereafter, the matter was adjourned twice on the request of the respondents who wanted time to file their responses.
On 11 August, the case was pushed by another two weeks on the Speaker’s request, asking for more time to submit additional documents to support his response.
Requesting the court to hold an urgent hearing in the matter, Chodankar said he does not want his petition to become “infructuous” as it did in Madhya Pradesh.
In Madhya Pradesh, the petition complaining about the Assembly Speaker’s inaction regarding the disqualification notices against 22 MLAs who defected to the BJP from the Congress has now become an “academic exercise” because bypolls have already taken place for the seats left vacant by the defection.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.