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Final disposal of disqualification plea against 10 Goa MLAs on Dec 10

Panaji, Nov 22 (IANS) The disqualification petition filed by Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar against 10 Congress MLAs who quit the party en masse in 2019, has been listed for final disposal on December 10, counsel for Chodankar and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha said on Monday.

Tankha, who appeared before the Bombay High Court bench in Goa, also said that another regional party 'Goa Forward' on Monday filed another petition in support of the plea filed by Chodankar and the High Court issued fresh notices to the 10 MLAs and Speaker Rajesh Patnekar for a response.

Both petitions, the counsel said, have been clubbed together for disposal.

"The counsel for the Speaker, the Advocate General was present and now (the matter) is listed for final disposal on December 10. Before that, all parties have to complete their pleadings. All parties have to complete their pleadings by December 9. On December 10, the HC will hear everybody," Tankha said.

Chodankar in his petition had argued that the split by the 10 Congress MLAs and their subsequent merger with the BJP was illegal and violative of the provisions of Schedule 10 of the Constitution.

Chodankar approached the High Court after Speaker Patnekar in an oral order dismissed a disqualification petition filed by Chodankar against the ten MLAs in April this year.

Tankha said that defections were a scourge in a democracy and said that all parties should come together to put an end to the menace.

"But beyond what we have said in the High Court, I would like to reiterate our commitment to democracy, our commitment to an ethical government. I, personally and my party believe there should be no defections and defection is a disease, it is a scourge which has ruined and given a bad name to our democracy," Tankha said.

"So we should do everything within our power as a political party to give clean and good administration and governance and have a defector-free government," he added.