In a significant ruling, the Odisha High Court on Monday quashed the order of Odisha assembly speaker, Pradeep Amat, who had rejected an application of BJP’s state unit president Jual Oram seeking disqualification of Bonai MLA Bhimsen Choudhury for disobeying party whip during the Rajya Sabha elections.
Disposing off a writ petition filed by BJP legislative secretary, Karendra Majhi, a division bench of the court comprising chief justice, V Gopala Gowda and justice S K Mishra asked the speaker to reconsider the application of Oram and pass appropriate order on it within four weeks.
This order of the High Court came during the hearing of the case on Monday when it was learnt neither the speaker nor Bonai MLA, Choudhury has filed any counter or reply to the notice of the High Court despite taking repeated adjournments, said Majhi’s counsel Gopal Agrawal.
Welcoming the ruling of the High Court, the BJP state unit general secretary, Nayan Kishore Mohanty said, “We hope the speaker would honour the ruling of the High Court and take appropriate action immediately to strengthen the democratic set up of the country”.
It may be noted, state BJP chief had made an application to the assembly speaker urging him to nullify the membership of Bonai legislator who was elected on a BJP ticket in 2009 but during 2010 Rajya Sabha elections, had defied the party whip for which he has since been suspended from the party. But speaker, Pradeep Amat had rejected the application of Oram in March this year following which the party’s legislative secretary moved the High Court seeking to quash the “impugned” order and urged the HC to disqualify the membership of the tribal legislator for violating the provisions of Anti-defection Law under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Choudhury had defied the party whip in the Rajya Sabha elections by abstaining from voting deliberately in order to help the ruling BJD's third candidate Baishanab Charan Parida to be a member of the Upper House.