Panaji, Jun 20 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today refused to grant any interim relief to the Congress which had sought a stay against its former MLA and incumbent BJP minister Vishwajit Rane continuing in the state Cabinet and contesting a by-election.
Justice Mahesh Sonak of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court admitted for a detailed hearing the petition moved by the Congress party on May 12, seeking the courts order to disqualify the minister from running the state assembly election for the next five years or till the present house is dissolved.
Rane, who had won the Valpoi assembly seat on a Congress ticket in the February 4 state polls, had resigned as its MLA on March 16 to join the BJP.
He was inducted into the state cabinet led by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
To retain his ministerial berth, he has to get re-elected as a member of the assembly within six months of his swearing-in as a minister.
While admitting the petition, the court said, “There is prima facie merit in the prayers.”
The court also granted another four weeks to the Goa Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant and Pro-tem Speaker Siddharat Kuncolienkar to reply to the plea.
The court had issued notices to the speaker and the pro-tem speaker on May 19.
Both of them, however, have failed to reply to the notice.
In its order today, the court dismissed Ranes objection that as per the Constitution, the petitioner should have first approached the assembly speaker with the disqualification plea rather than pleading before the High Court.
In the plea, the Congress said that by abstaining from voting in the assembly on March 16 and by voluntarily giving up his membership of the party, Rane had automatically incurred disqualification for being a member of the House from March 16, 2017 to March 15, 2022.
“Therefore, in terms of Article 191 of the Constitution of India, he stood disqualified for being chosen as or for being a member of the Goa Assembly between this period of five years,” the party said in the petition.
SOURCE & CREDITS: PTI