TMB Report: The Speaker’s tribunal of the Manipur Legislative Assembly has prepared to conduct the final hearing of the different disqualification petitions filed against Forest and Environment Minister Th Shyamkumar on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Speaker’s tribunal fixed 10.30 AM of February 4 for the final hearing of the disqualification cases filed against the minister. M Ramani, secretary Manipur Legislative Assembly also issued a notice directing the parties to submit additional documents, if any, on or before February 3 during office hours.
Notably, minister Th Shyamkumar who won the 2017 election to the state Assembly from Andro Assembly constituency on Congress ticket switched his allegiance to the ruling BJP even before he was sworn in as an MLA. Not long after, he was given the ministerial portfolios in charge of MAHUD, Forest & Environment, Horticulture and Soil conservation in Chief Minister N Biren led council of ministers.
Later, some Congress MLAs filed 15 different disqualification cases pleading the Speaker’s tribunal court seeking the disqualification of Minister Th Shyamkumar, contending that the minister had violated the Constitution’s 10th Schedule, also known as Anti-defection law, by joining the BJP after winning the election on a Congress ticket.
With the Speaker’s tribunal delaying its verdict, the frustrated petitioners even knocked the door of the Manipur High Court seeking justice. However, the court on July 24, 2019 disposed of the disqualification petitions seeking disqualification of the minister and refused to pass any order citing shortfalls of its jurisdiction under 10th Schedule. However, the court lamented on the indecision on the part of the Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly to take a decision.
Later, two Congress MLAs – K Meghachandra and Md Fajur Rahim filed petitions with the Supreme Court seeking disqualification of minister Th Shyamkumar. The Speaker’s tribunal of Manipur Legislative Assembly was prompted to conduct the final hearing of the disqualification petitions after the Supreme Court on January 21 this year passed a verdict directing the Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly to decide on the disqualification of minister Th Shyamkumar within four weeks.
SG Hasnain, advocate of the Supreme Court and counsel of the petitioners – MLA K Meghachandra and MLA Md Fajur Rahim recently came to Imphal to hand over the copy of the SC verdict to the Speaker’s tribunal.
On the other hand, the Speaker’s tribunal also fixed 10.30 AM of February 11 to conduct further proceedings on the similar disqualification cases filed against seven other Congress MLAs who followed Shyamkumar to join the BJP – Oinam Lukhoi of Wangoi AC, P Brojen of Wangjing Tentha AC , Ngamthang Haokip of Saitu AC, Ksh Biren of Lamlai AC, Y Surchandra of Kakching AC, S Bira of Kumbi AC, Ginsuanhau Zou of Singhat AC who switched their allegiance to BJP.
Manipur Legislative Assembly secretary, in a notice earlier, directed the parties to submit additional documents, if any, on or before February 7 without fail.
Except for Minister Th Shyamkumar, all other 7 Congress MLAs are still sitting on the opposition bench in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. So far, Congress party is yet to issue any order expelling them from the party.
Notably, BJP won 21 seats while Congress won 28 in the 2017 state Assembly election. However, BJP formed the government with the support from four MLAs of NPF, four MLAs of NPP, one LJP MLA, one TMC MLA, one Independent and one defected Congress MLA. Later, seven other Congress MLAs switched their allegiance to BJP taking the total tally in BJP’s camp at the State Assembly to 40 at present.