HC to resume hearing on rebel Congress MLAs’ petition today

Dehradun (Uttarakhand): The Uttarakhand High Court will today resume the hearing on nine rebel Congress MLAs’ petition challenging their disqualification by state Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.

The nine legislators will present their contention before the single bench of Justice U. C. Dhyani.

The bench had on Saturday recorded the arguments of counsel Kapil Sibal appearing for the Speaker.

Eight of the nine rebel Congress legislators have moved the High Court on two grounds – that they were not given enough time by the Speaker to respond to the charges, and that they were not provided ‘proof’ of their alleged anti-party activities.

The conflict between the Congress and their legislators arose during a debate last month over the state budget.

The Speaker had on March 27 disqualified the nine Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who spearheaded the rebellion against former chief minister Harish Rawat, under the anti-defection law.

In the number game, Congress will have the upper hand if the court upholds the Speaker’s move to disqualify the MLAs.

In the 70-member assembly, the Congress has 27 members excluding the nine legislators.

The reported decision to disqualify the nine legislators from the Congress Party, who have revolted against Harish Rawat and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), would reduce the effective strength of the 70-member assembly to 61. (ANI)