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Telangana HC restores assembly membership of two state Congress lawmakers

Telangana assembly speaker expelled Venkat Reddy and Sampath Kumar on March 13 for the rest of the term for allegedly misbehaving in the House the previous day when governor ESL Narasimhan was addressing the joint session of the assembly and council.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2018 18:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana,Congress MLAs,Congress
The membership of the 2 Congress lawmakers had been terminated on charges of alleged unruly behaviour in the Telangana Assembly.(PTI File Photo)

Hyderabad high court on Tuesday revoked the expulsion of two Congress lawmakers from Telangana from the state assembly and restored their membership terminated on charges of alleged unruly behaviour in the House.

The court, however, did not bar the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government from taking criminal action against Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and SA Sampath Kumar, if the allegations against them of causing injury to the Legislative Council chairman were proved.

Telangana assembly speaker S Madhusudhana Chary expelled Venkat Reddy and Kumar on March 13 for the rest of the term for allegedly misbehaving in the House the previous day when governor ESL Narasimhan was addressing the joint session of the assembly and council.

The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi produced a video clip in which Venkat Reddy, who represents Nalgonda constituency, was seen throwing headphones at the podium and alleged that it hit Legislative Council Speaker K Swamy Goud, sitting beside the governor, resulting in an injury to his eye.

The Telangana government issued a gazette notification within hours of their expulsion, notifying the two vacancies in the assembly and requested the Election Commission of India to conduct by-elections for the vacant seats.

The two lawmakers moved the high court, challenging their expulsion. Venkat Reddy said he had not intentionally thrown the headphone and that the Legislative Council chairman was not hurt.

“The TRS members produced only one-side visuals of me throwing the headphone. There are no visuals as to where the headphone fell. Though there were at least two cameras focussing only on the podium, the TRS members did not produce any evidence to show that the headphone had indeed hit Swamy Goud’s eye,” he said.

The high court, which took up the case, asked the Election Commission not to notify the vacancies till further orders. However, Venkat Reddy and Kumar were not allowed to cast their vote in the Rajya Sabha elections held on March 21.

During the hearings, the high court called for the visuals of the entire assembly proceedings of the day. But the counsel for the government could not produce any footage despite repeated adjournments.

Advocate general D Prakash Reddy, who argued the case for the government, resigned from his job reportedly for not committing before the court that he would produce the visuals.

The high court, as a result, gave the judgement on Tuesday in favour of the two Congress leaders. It also struck down the gazette notification on the vacancies of the two seats and said Venkat Reddy and Kumar would continue as MLAs for the rest of their term.

Venkat Reddy said he was happy with the high court’s verdict and that it clearly exposed the conspiracy the TRS government hatched to demoralise the Congress party.

“We were expelled for no fault of ours,” he said.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded that chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and assembly Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary resign from their seats on moral grounds, following the court verdict.

Telangana legislative affairs minister T Harish Rao, who moved the expulsion motion, refused to comment.

First Published: Apr 17, 2018 17:59 IST