The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal Assembly Speaker to decide by October 7 on a petition seeking disqualification of Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy from the House, Live Law reported.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Rajarshi Bharadwaj was hearing a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ambika Roy challenging appointment of Mukul Roy as the chairman of the public accounts committee of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
In June, Mukul Roy had defected to the Trinamool Congress months after winning the Krishnanagar Uttar constituency in the West Bengal Assembly elections on a BJP ticket.
In July, West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee had appointed Mukul Roy as chairman of the public accounts committee of the House.
Meanwhile, before his appointment to the post, BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari had on June 17 sent a plea to the Assembly speaker, seeking disqualification of Mukul Roy as an MLA under the anti-defection law.
During Tuesday’s hearing on Ambika Roy’s plea, the High Court took note of the disqualification petition filed by Adhikari.
The court observed that in accordance with previous Supreme Court orders, a Speaker must decide on disqualification petitions within a period of three months from its date of filing, Live Law reported. The stipulated period in the current case was over on September 16, the court noted.
The judges said that it was necessary for the Speaker to respond to Adhikari’s petition before hearing Ambika Roy’s plea as the matters are co-related, Bar and Bench reported.
“The constitutional authorities who have been conferred with various powers are in fact coupled with duties and responsibilities to maintain the constitutional values,” the court said. “In case they fail to discharge their duties within time, it will endanger the democratic set up.”
The judges observed that the Speaker’s decision on the disqualification petition would be quasi-judicial in nature and is open to judicial review.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Adhikari filed a separate plea in the Calcutta High Court seeking Mukul Roy’s disqualification from the West Bengal Assembly.