Goa Congress Approaches SC Challenging Verdict On 10 MLA Disqualification Plea

Congress has petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to overturn a ruling by the Bombay high court in Goa that decided in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Parties (BJP) 10 Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who defected from the Congress.

The Girish Chodankar, the Goa Congress president, said the high court's decision to deny a request for the Member of the Parliaments' (MP) disqualification went against the ethos of democracy. Girish Chodankar claimed that the high court's assessment will have major implications for the country's democratic and electoral processes and that it may come to a point in which political parties might gain Member of Legislative Assembly without even fighting elections.

Girish Chodankar sought the Supreme Court to decipher the Constitution's Tenth Schedules following the intent and purpose of its passage.

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The Bharatiya Janata party established the administration with assistance from the Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) after winning Thirteen (13) seats in the 2017 assembly polls. Ten of the fifteen Congress Members of Legislative Association and two of the three Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) MLAs switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019.

The Bombay high court in Goa rejected petitions brought by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Congress challenging the assembly speaker's decision to deny requests to disqualify ten (10) Congress Members of the Parliament (MLA) and two (2) MGP MLAs for switching sides to the Bharatiya Janata party without first quitting as legislators.

The high court supported the speaker's decision, stating that because more than two-thirds of the MLAs from both parties moved parties, the change did not trigger the anti-defection legislation's disqualification punishment.

The court ruled that they were safeguarded by section 4 (2) of the 10th Schedule, which stipulates that a combination of a member's initial political party is deemed to have occurred if, and only if, not below two-thirds of the members of the parliamentary party involved consent to such a merger.

According to Girish Chodankar, Congress is pursuing a Supreme Court judgement as to whether a political group amalgamation is a required prerequisite for members of a parliamentary party to claim merger. And, more crucially, if members of the legislative party could be offered security under paragraph 4(1) of Schedule X in the lack of a combination of the initial political party.

Congress has also sought the Supreme Court to decide on whether a legislative party may commence and finish a political party merger without referring to or assuming the function of a political party.

The high court decides that once the classifying fiction is in effect, even if there is no actual combination of the initial political party, we must move ahead on the assumption that that kind of a merger has occurred as a result of the classifying fiction, as long as not just under two-thirds of the representatives of the legislature party acknowledge to it.