Gauhati HC stays removal of Congress’ leader of opposition in Assam assembly
- Hearing a petition filed by Saikia challenging the notification, Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua stayed the move and issued notices to the secretary and principal secretary of Assam assembly returnable within two weeks.
The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday stayed the notice issued by Assam assembly secretariat removing Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia from the status of leader of opposition.
On January 1, Saikia’s status was withdrawn after two Congress MLAs resigned from the party and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, bringing the total number of Congress legislators down to 20 in the 126-member assembly.
It was stated that since the present strength of the Congress was not equal to the quorum fixed to constitute a sitting of the House, i.e. one-sixth of the total members, his status was withdrawn.
Hearing a petition filed by Saikia challenging the notification, Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua stayed the move and issued notices to the secretary and principal secretary of Assam assembly returnable within two weeks.
Appearing for Saikia, advocate Satyen Sarma submitted that since fulfilled the requirement of being leader of the largest party in opposition and was also recognized by the assembly Speaker as such, he (Saikia) is still legally entitled to remain leader of opposition.
“No material has been produced before the court that the petitioner Debabrata Saikia is not the leader of Indian National Congress legislature party in the Assam legislative assembly. So from the said point of view, the petitioner satisfies the requirement of the meaning of the expression leader of opposition,” Justice Bujor Barua said in his order.
“Prima facie the order contained in the notification dated 01-01-2021 of the secretary, Assam legislative assembly withdrawing the recognition of the petitioner Debabrata Saikia as the leader of opposition would be unsustainable, both on law as well as on facts,” the order added.
The matter has been listed for hearing after two weeks.
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