HC dismisses petition seeking to vacate stay on derecognition of Saikia as Leader of Oppn

Guwahati, Jan 27 (PTI) The Gauhati High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking vacation of the stay order on the Assam assembly secretarys notification withdrawing recognition to Congress leader Debabrata Saikia as the Leader of the Opposition in the House.

According to a notification issued on January 1, Saikia lost that status as the present strength of the Congress in the 126-member House is one less than the required number of 21 MLAs.

Saikia moved the high court challenging the notification and the single bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua on January 12 put an interim stay on it. The assembly secretariat then filed a petition in a division bench seeking to vacate the stay order.

After hearing the petition, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Suman Shyam dismissed it and asked the petitioner to approach the single judge bench.

On January 12, the single bench of Justice Barua had issued notices to the speaker, secretary and principal secretary of the assembly, and the chief secretary of the state, and stayed the derecognition of Saikia as an interim measure.

The matter has been fixed for hearing on January 29.

The recognition of Leader of the Opposition, given to Saikia on June 4, 2016, was withdrawn on the ground that the current strength of the Congress is not one-sixth of the total number of members of the House.

In the Assam assembly, the BJP has 60 MLAs, while the Congress has 19 at present. Five other seats that the opposition party had won in 2016 are lying vacant following resignations and deaths.

At present, there are 119 members in the House. The elections are likely to be held in March-April this year. PTI