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Speaker disqualifies nine MLAs from House

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GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Ending the suspense which had lasted weeks, the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly today disqualified the nine Congress MLAs, who had last month joined the BJP, from membership of the House.

Speaker Pranab Gogoi today disqualified the nine MLAs, who have been termed as the Navaratna by sections of the media. The nine MLAs whose membership of the Legislative Assembly have been terminated are Bolin Chetia (Sadiya), Pradan Barua (Jonai), Pallab Lochan Das (Behali), Rajen Borthakur (Tezpur), Pijush Hazarika (Raha), Kripanath Mallah (Ratabari), Abu Taher Bepari (Golakganj), Binanda Kumar Saikia (Sipajhar) and Jayanta Mallah Barua (Nalbari).

Pranab Kumar Das, Principal Secretary of the Assam Legislative Assembly, told reporters that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief whip Nilamani Sen Deka had earlier this month moved Speaker Gogoi to disqualify the nine legislators who joined the BJP.

Citing the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the Congress had filed the application seeking disqualification of the MLAs.

Based on the application, Speaker Gogoi had on December 3 issued showcause notices to all the MLAs, who had in turn written to the Speaker on December 8, seeking more time.

Gogoi had then given six more days, till December 14, to the MLAs to file their replies.

The nine MLAs had given their replies to the showcause on December 14.

�The Speaker studied the replies and fixed December 19 as the date for hearing from both the petitioner and the respondents. On December 19, all the sides presented their views as well as relevant documents to the Speaker. After hearing both sides, studying all the rules and considering all aspects, the Speaker terminated the membership of Pradan Barua, Bolin Chetia, Rajen Borthakur, Pallab Lochan Das, Pijush Hazarika, Binanda Saikia, Kripanath Mallah, Jayanta Mallah Barua and Abu Taher Bepari from the Legislative Assembly,� Das said.

The nine disqualified MLAs expressed dissatisfaction over the Speaker�s decision and are likely to approach the High Court against it.

�Once we receive the formal order, we will approach the High Court against the Speaker�s decision,� Pradan Barua said.

Commenting on the Speaker�s decision, CLP chief whip Deka said, �The law has taken its course and the MLAs have been disqualified� They tried to state that the Congress has expelled them. Does that mean they can join another party?�

Asked about the disqualified MLAs� plans to approach the High Court, Deka said they are free to do so.

The disqualification of the nine MLAs has brought down the effective strength of the Legislative Assembly to 116. Former Congress leader and MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had joined the saffron party in August, had earlier resigned his membership of the House.

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Speaker disqualifies nine MLAs from House

GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Ending the suspense which had lasted weeks, the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly today disqualified the nine Congress MLAs, who had last month joined the BJP, from membership of the House.

Speaker Pranab Gogoi today disqualified the nine MLAs, who have been termed as the Navaratna by sections of the media. The nine MLAs whose membership of the Legislative Assembly have been terminated are Bolin Chetia (Sadiya), Pradan Barua (Jonai), Pallab Lochan Das (Behali), Rajen Borthakur (Tezpur), Pijush Hazarika (Raha), Kripanath Mallah (Ratabari), Abu Taher Bepari (Golakganj), Binanda Kumar Saikia (Sipajhar) and Jayanta Mallah Barua (Nalbari).

Pranab Kumar Das, Principal Secretary of the Assam Legislative Assembly, told reporters that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief whip Nilamani Sen Deka had earlier this month moved Speaker Gogoi to disqualify the nine legislators who joined the BJP.

Citing the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the Congress had filed the application seeking disqualification of the MLAs.

Based on the application, Speaker Gogoi had on December 3 issued showcause notices to all the MLAs, who had in turn written to the Speaker on December 8, seeking more time.

Gogoi had then given six more days, till December 14, to the MLAs to file their replies.

The nine MLAs had given their replies to the showcause on December 14.

�The Speaker studied the replies and fixed December 19 as the date for hearing from both the petitioner and the respondents. On December 19, all the sides presented their views as well as relevant documents to the Speaker. After hearing both sides, studying all the rules and considering all aspects, the Speaker terminated the membership of Pradan Barua, Bolin Chetia, Rajen Borthakur, Pallab Lochan Das, Pijush Hazarika, Binanda Saikia, Kripanath Mallah, Jayanta Mallah Barua and Abu Taher Bepari from the Legislative Assembly,� Das said.

The nine disqualified MLAs expressed dissatisfaction over the Speaker�s decision and are likely to approach the High Court against it.

�Once we receive the formal order, we will approach the High Court against the Speaker�s decision,� Pradan Barua said.

Commenting on the Speaker�s decision, CLP chief whip Deka said, �The law has taken its course and the MLAs have been disqualified� They tried to state that the Congress has expelled them. Does that mean they can join another party?�

Asked about the disqualified MLAs� plans to approach the High Court, Deka said they are free to do so.

The disqualification of the nine MLAs has brought down the effective strength of the Legislative Assembly to 116. Former Congress leader and MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had joined the saffron party in August, had earlier resigned his membership of the House.