Assembly Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat on Wednesday dismissed, for the second time, the petition of BJP Legislature Party secretary Karendra Majhi seeking disqualification of party MLA from Bonai Bhimsen Choudhury for defying party whip during the 2010 Rajya Sabha election.
“....I am inclined to hold that the petition filed by Karendra Majhi, member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, to declare Bhimsen Choudhury, MLA from Bonai (ST) Assembly constituency, as disqualified and devoid of merits and the same is dismissed with effect from August 1, 2012,” Amat said in his order.
Referring to Press notes issued by the Election Commission on July 17, 2007 and July 10, 2012, the Speaker said the Supreme Court has ordered that an elector would not attract penal provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for having voted for a candidate in defiance of the party directive.
The commission, Amat ruled, has also observed that election to Rajya Sabha by members of State Legislative Assembly is non-legislative activity and not a proceeding within the State legislature as per the decision of the apex court.
Besides, the leader of the BJP legislature party did not file his comment in writing supporting the demand of Majhi for Choudhury’s disqualification and declaring the Bonai Assembly seat vacant. The Speaker also dismissed the petitioner’s argument that the conduct of Choudhury may be inferred as voluntarily giving up his membership from the BJP.
“I found nowhere Choudhury has voluntarily given up his membership from the BJP. Rather, he has urged the State president of the BJP to revoke the order of suspension passed against him,” the Speaker said.
In his February order, the Speaker had rejected the petition of Karendra, who later moved the High Court.
On June 18, the court set aside the Speaker’s order, saying it was not passed on merit. The court remanded it back to the Speaker to reconsider Majhi’s petition and pass order within four weeks. The High Court had observed that the Speaker’s order came only on the basis of a note submitted by the Law Officer.
Choudhury was suspended from the BJP for abstaining from the Rajya Sabha election held in June 2010 by defying the party whip. After his suspension, the party filed the petition before the Speaker for his disqualification.