Madhya Pradesh Assembly Secretariat has sought a legal opinion from the Advocate General to decide whether disqualified BJP MLA Prahlad Lodhi can be allowed to attend the winter session of the state Legislature starting from December 17.
Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati had earlier this month disqualified Lodhi after a Bhopal court sentenced the Pawai MLA and 12 others to two years in jail for attacking Raipura tehsildar R K Verma in August, 2014 for seizing a tractor smuggling sand. However, the Madhya Pradesh High Court later stayed the conviction and sentence.
Ever since the high court's stay, the opposition BJP and the Congress government in the state have been at loggerheads over Lodhi's membership.
While the BJP wants Lodhi to be allowed to attend the Assembly proceedings due to the HC stay, the government says the legislator would not be given entry into the House as he stands disqualified.
Talking to PTI on Friday, state advocate general Shashank Shekhar, said, "The Assembly Secretariat has sought a legal opinion on Lodhi's status."
"I will send my opinion shortly," he said, adding that he was waiting for some more documents from the secretariat.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Gopal Bhargava, said Lodhi will "lawfully" attend the assembly session with them as the HC has stayed his conviction and sentence.
However, state Assembly Affairs Minister Govind Singh said the legislator would not be given entry into the House as he stands disqualified.
The BJP says the speaker's decision to disqualify the MLA was taken in haste. It has also petitioned the state government seeking his disqualification revoked.
The trial court had convicted Lodhi and others and awarded the sentence on October 31. They were convicted under IPC sections 353 (assault on public servant to deter him from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant).
The Congress government in the state has already filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the high court's stay.
Lodhi has also filed a caveat in the apex court to prevent an ex-parte order.
"We have already filed a caveat (to prevent an ex- parte order)," Lodhi's counsel and former advocate general Purushendra Kaurav told PTI.
Due to Lodhi's disqualification, BJP's tally in the 230-member MP assembly has come down to 107.
This was the second blow to the saffron party in a short span as the Congress had wrested the Jhabua assembly seat from the BJP in a bypoll, taking the number of its lawmakers in the House to 115.
But the Congress is still one seat short of the simple majority. It has been ruling the state for the past 11 months with the support of two BSP, one SP and four Independent legislators.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)