Speaker, assembly secretary in legal soup
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 31
Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and the Assembly Secretary of Nagaland seem to have landed in a legal soup as the Court today issued notice asking the Speaker and the Secretary to show cause as to why contempt should not be drawn up against them for willfully violating the High Court order of September 12, 2014.
This case is related to the disqualification of the BJP MLAs by the Speaker’s order after three NCP MLAs had merged with the BJP recently in Nagaland. The three BJP MLAs are M. Kikon, Imtilemba Sangtam and Dr. TM Lotha.
After the disqualification of the three MLAs, the BJP had gone to court challenging the Speaker’s order and the court had stayed the order. However, even after the stay order of the court the Nagaland assembly had apparently denied the privileges of being MLAs to the three members and even their salaries and allowances had been denied.
This was informed by SS Dey, Senior Advocate representing the BJP. He said that the stay order of the High Court means that the MLAs are reinstated and must be given all facilities of that is due to MLAs.
The case is being argued against by the Nagaland Government’s Legal Adviser, R. Kothandaraman.
Interestingly, the BJP, which is a partner in the ruling alliance in Nagaland, had asked for the sacking of the State Legal Adviser as he had been fined by the Supreme Court in a legal case for concealing facts. The State Government is yet to reply to the demand of the BJP.
The BJP has threatened to break away from the DAN alliance in Nagaland for what it termed as “bullying attitude and arrogance of the Naga People’s Front (NPF)”.
Senior BJP leaders who have been monitoring the case and were present in court informed the press that they are dismayed with the State Government for using its Legal Adviser in opposing the BJP in court. They also informed that some prominent business persons who operate in Nagaland were also present in the court premises and they are looking into the antecedents of the person concerned.
BJP leaders said that its central leaders and the top leadership of the party had sent emissaries on three occasions to meet the leaders of the NPF including the present chief minister on the issue of the merger but the disqualification could not be averted. The BJP in a statement had categorically stated that under past NPF governments such type of mergers had taken place on several occasions in a smooth manner but unfortunately, when it favored the BJP, the MLAs were disqualified.
The manner in which the court battle is being played out and the manner in which the BJP has been vocal about its stand clearly indicates that the BJP-NPF friendship is on the rocks.
The BJP leaders have informed that whatever steps it is taking and whatever statement has been released is based on the collective decision of the State BJP and has the clearance of its central leadership.