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Kohima, July 14: Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) Speaker, Sharingain Longkumer on Tuesday dismissed the disqualification petition against seven rebel MLAs of Naga People’s Front (NPF).
NPF had filed the disqualification petition against seven rebel MLAs – E E Pangteang, Eshak Konyak, Kejong Chang, B S Nganlang Phom, Toyang Changkong Chang, N Thongwang Konyak and C L John on April 24, 2019 for supporting PDA nominee Tokheho Yepthomi instead of party’s collective decision to support Congress candidate K L Chishi in the 2018 Lok Sabha election.
Briefing media persons in the Assembly Committee room after the pronouncement of his judgment today, Longkumer agreed that the disqualification petition was of paramount importance but it was delayed due to the sudden demise of the then Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshu in November.
He recollected that after he was elected as the Speaker of the House in February this year, he followed all processes and announced March 20 for framing of issues, while April 24 was fixed for evidence collection but due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown it had to be postponed, otherwise “we were on the right track”.
During this period, the NPF approached the High Court, which was heard and gave an order to dispose of the matter within six weeks time, while deadline expired today with the judgment, he said.
The final hearing was held on July 6, while all the proceedings of the matter were held following all protocols of social distancing due to the COVID-19 lockdown, he said.
The order passed by the Speaker states “it is established beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no sufficient ground for presuming that the respondents had voluntarily given up the membership of the original political party, i.e. the NPF”.
The Speaker, therefore, said “the respondents (rebel MLAs) are not liable to be disqualified under Para 2(1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule”. The paragraph deals with disqualification on ground of defection.
NPF Legislature Party meeting on Speaker’s judgement today
Meanwhile, NPF MLA Imkong L Imchen while talking to media persons after the judgment order was passed refrained from making any comments saying that he was yet to through the 40 paged judgment of the Speaker.
He, however, said since it was a collective decision of the party to file the disqualification petition against the seven MLAs, the final decision on accepting or rejecting Speaker’s judgment will be discussed in the NPF Legislature Party meeting scheduled on Wednesday in the Opposition Leader’s chamber in Assembly secretariat at 11 am.
Asked if the 7 rebel MLAs have been asked to attend the meeting, Imchen replied in negative. (Page News Service)