Speaker dismisses disqualification case

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The Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly, Thokchom Lokeshwar Singh has dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of five MLAs of the then Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) who had merged with the Congress in April 2014.

The Five MLAs are, K Thamarjit, Nemcha Kipgen, RK Imo, P Brojen and Zanghemlung Panmei who were elected in the 2012 state Assembly elections on MSCP tickets. They had joined the ruling Congress on April 3, 2014.

They joined the Congress after MSCP was merged with Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) and closed down the party organisation at the time of joining the latter.

However, Adim Panmei, currently vice-president of state BJP, who was then the vice-president of the MSCP filed a petition to the Speaker praying for disqualification of the five MLAs under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.

The petition was filed on April 26 days after the five joined the Congress. After a protracted hearing of the case the Tribunal of the Speaker pronounced the verdict today.

The Speaker dismissed the case for want of merit. It stated that the merger of MSCP with the INC (Congress) satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4 of Tenth Schedule and there is no infirmity or illegality in the merger.

In its 24 paged order, the Speaker was of the opinion that merger of an original political party with another political party in term of paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule is essentially different from the merger of a political party with another political party under the statutory provisions of election laws like the Election Symbol (Reservation and Allotment) order, 1968 etc.

It further mentioned that the application of the petitioner simply seeks intervention of the Speaker to prevent the merger before the same become effectual. The application was not entertained as pre-mature and this was communicated to the petitioner, vide letter date March 29, 2014. The communication was neither challenged nor was questioned before any forum or court.

In this connection, during the pendency of the case it was also put to the notice of the tribunal on the fact that the Election Commission of India after consideration of respective contentions of the rival parties, passed an order on June 27, 2015 in which the fact of merger of MSCP with their five MLAs have been duly acknowledged by the ECI.

Consequently, MSCP which was a state party with the symbol of “cultivator cutting crop” was deleted from the state party list, statutorily maintained by the ECI.

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