Second hearing held on BJP’s plea for Mukul Roy’s disqualification
West Bengal assembly speaker Biman Banerjee on Friday held the second hearing on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s petition for disqualification of Mukul Roy as legislator under the anti-defection law.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, attended the hearing. “The anti-defection law has not been enforced in Bengal in the last 10 years. We have faith in the Speaker,” said Adhikari.
The first hearing was held on July 16 when Adhikari submitted a 68-page document to back his demand. He said the BJP might move court.
Adhikari said anti-defection law is applicable against Roy. “Despite this, he was made chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC),” said Adhikari.
Roy, who could not be contacted for comments, joined the BJP in 2017 and became the party’s national vice-president. He returned to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on June 11 along with his son Subhranshu.
Roy is still officially a BJP legislator. He was made chairman of the PAC on July 9 before the budget session of the assembly ended. An Opposition leader normally gets the post.
BJP MLAs, who were made chairpersons of other standing committees, resigned over Roy’s nomination. The speaker later selected TMC MLAs for these posts.
The first meeting of the PAC was also held on Friday, but Roy did not attend it. BJP legislators raised the issue.
TMC MLA Tapas Roy said, “Roy informed through e-mail that he would not be present. The Speaker used his discretion and allowed the meeting to be held. The BJP has no right to question the Speaker’s decision.”
On June 18, Adhikari submitted the petition before the Speaker saying Roy should be disqualified under Rule 6 of the Members of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, read with Article 191 (2) and paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
The decision to disqualify a member is taken exclusively by the Speaker. The Constitution does not specify any time frame for the process which involves inquiry, hearings and setting up of a committee. The next hearing on Adhikari’s petition will be held on August 17.