Manipur Speaker Y Khemchand on Saturday disqualified Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh as a member of the state Assembly on the grounds of defection, reported Live Law.

Singh had defected from the Congress to the BJP after Assembly elections in Manipur in 2017, which he had contested as a Congress candidate. The Congress had won 28 seats in the elections and the BJP got 21. However, the BJP allied with National People’s Party to form a government, and Singh joined them. He was made the minister of forest and environment.

The Congress filed an application of disqualification against him but Khemchand did not take any action, after which a writ petition was filed. Singh was also suspended from the party for six years.

On March 18, the Supreme Court had barred Singh from entering the Legislative Assembly, and ruled that he would cease to be a minister immediately. The order was passed after the top court noted that despite its direction to the Manipur Speaker in January to decide on the 13 disqualification petitions pending against Singh within four weeks, no such decision had been taken.

It is established beyond doubt that the respondent had voluntarily given up the membership of the Indian National Congress,” the order passed by the Speaker said on Saturday. “Hence, this tribunal came to the conclusion that the respondent had clearly violated the provision of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India and is liable to be punished as per the provision of the Constitution to uphold the dignity of democracy and the mandate of the people”.

The Congress welcomed the disqualification. “Nobody can go against our Indian Constitution,” party MLA K Meghachandra said. “Protecting the Constitution is respecting democracy. I welcome the justice delivered by the Speaker but it is too late as it has already affected the democratic rights of the people.”

Ahead of the Speaker’s decision, Singh had tendered his resignation on Thursday.