West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee on Wednesday rejected a plea by Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari to disqualify BJP legislator Mukul Roy, saying that he did not find merit in the argument of the petitioner. Banerjee maintained his previous decision on the matter.
The Calcutta High Court on April 11 set aside the Speaker’s earlier order dismissing a petition by Adhikari which sought disqualification of Roy as a member of the House on the ground of defection and restored the matter for fresh consideration. I heard from both sides, elaborately discussed the earlier rulings cited by the petitioner, and came to the conclusion that the petitioner has failed to prove his contention. The petitioner put the focus on electronic evidence. I took note of those pieces of evidence ad those too failed to prove the charge,” Banerjee said.
Talking to reporters in his chamber after giving his ruling, Banerjee, a well-known lawyer, said that it is a matter of law” and refused to speak anything more on the issue. TMC sources said that the Speaker’s order implies that Roy who represents the Krishnanagar South assembly constituency remains a BJP MLA. Roy had defected to the ruling Trinamool Congress in June 2021 around a month after winning the assembly polls on a BJP ticket. He did not resign as a member of the House. Adhikari then moved a disqualification petition against him before the Speaker under the anti-defection law.
In February this year, Speaker Banerjee dismissed the petition. Adhikari, a BJP MLA, then challenged the order in the high court. Ambika Roy, another legislator of the saffron party, had moved the high court in July last year challenging Roy’s election as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and prayed for the nomination of an opposition member to the post as per tradition. The case is pending. Banerjee said, “Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari and MLA Ambika Roy had questioned the validity of the appointment of Mukul Roy as PAC Chairman and sought his disqualification as MLA. They moved court. The matter went to the Supreme Court from the high court but the honourable Supreme Court sent it back to the high court and the honourable high court asked me to pronounce my verdict within a month.
The high court order was given on April 11 and the Speaker pronounced his decision on May 12.