In a major setback to ruling BJP, the Manipur High Court on Monday barred entry of seven legislators, who had resigned from the Congress to join the saffron party, into the Assembly.
The High Court in an order directed Speaker Yumnam Khemchand to “restrain” the entry of seven MLAs into the Assembly until further order, New Indian Express reported.
Hearing disqualification petitions, the one-judge HC Bench of Justice K Nobin Singh ordered, “…With the direction that unless and until the petitions are decided and disposed of finally by the Hon’ble Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly, the private respondents namely Shri Sanasam Bira Singh, MLA; Shri Ginsuanhau, MLA; Shri Oinam Lukhoi Singh, MLA; Shri Ngamthang Haokip, MLA; Shri Yengkhom Surchandra Singh, MLA; Shri Kshetrimayum Bira Singh, MLA and Shri Paonam Brojen Singh, MLA, are restrained from entering the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Imphal.
“The Hon’ble Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly, is directed to ensure compliance of this order by all concerned.”
Congress leader Kapil Sibal had led the team of advocates representing petitioners from the Congress.
The court said the Speaker had failed to decide the petitions filed by the petitioners from Congress party within a reasonable time.
It said despite the petitions being filed on November 8, 2018, the Speaker had not disposed them of till date.
Earlier in March this year, the Supreme Court stripped Manipur Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar of his office and banned his entry into the Assembly.
Later, the Speaker had disqualified him as a member of the Assembly.
The Congress has hailed the high court judgment.
“I welcome the verdict of Hon’ble High Court of Manipur. The Keisham Meghachandra judgment of the Supreme Court has given the path to justice today.
“I am sure that Congress will win the Rajya Sabha election from Manipur on June 19. I look forward to seeing a new Congress-led coalition government in Manipur soon,” Congress spokesman Ningombam Bupenda Meitei told the newspaper.
He said the ruling coalition is gradually being weakened numerically and politically in Manipur.
Following the court’s order, the seven MLAs will not be able to take part in voting during election to the state’s lone Rajya Sabha seat.