Speaker asked to decide validity of MLA merger

ITANAGAR, Sep 23: The Itanagar permanent bench of Gauhati High Court on Friday disposed of the WP(C) 613 (AP) of 216 case and left it to the State Legislative Assembly Speaker to decide the merit and validity of the ‘merger’ of Congress MLAs with the PPA last year.
The petition was filed by former Congress President Padi Richo against the state assembly Speaker, secretary, Election Commission of India and 43 MLAs.
“The contentions raised by the petitioner that the claim of merger by 43 INC MLAs as flows from different resolutions of 16.09.2016 does not satisfy the requirements of a merger, both factually as well as under the law, as well as the contention that the 43 MLAs having been elected on the INC tickets by taking a recourse to the policies of the INC, which were found acceptable by the electorate, the INC would suffer loss and injuries on their claim of merger with the PPA, would now be taken up by the petitioner and other similarly situated persons of the INC before the speaker, while deciding the petition for disqualification dated 14.10.2016, which had already been filed”, the Court said.
“This court does not express any opinion on its merit either on the validity or the acceptability of such contentions and it would for the speaker to consider and decide the same. In terms of the above, the writ petition stands disposed of.”
The Court further stated that the publication referred in the order dated 16.09.2016 is not a publication of any paper, document, report in connection with the business of the House or laid on the Table of the House or presented to the House or a Committee thereof, in order to bring it within the purview of the Rule-321 (1) of the Business Rules and accordingly, the privilege against any proceeding in any Court, as provided under Article 194(2) of the Constitution, is unavailable.