Jharkhand speaker delays judgement in defection cases
Jharkhand assembly speaker Aalamgir Aalam is yet to deliver his judgement in 11 cases of defection - nine months after the state high court's directive to do so at the earliest.
While hearing a petition in August 2008, the high court had taken exception to Aalam taking too long to give the verdict in the cases of legislators switching loyalties and ordered him to do so as fast as possible.
Following the court directive, Aalam had said he will pronounce the judgement in all pending cases by November 2008.
The hearing of the defection cases was completed in January this year. However, the announcement of verdicts is still pending.
Asked the reason for the delay, Aalam told IANS: "I will give the judgements in June. Two more defection cases have been filed in my court."
The fresh cases have been filed against Thomas Hansda, a Congress legislator who fought the Lok Sabha election from Rajmahal on a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) ticket, and independent legislator Stephen Marandi.
Of the 11 pending cases, five had been filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is accusing the speaker of delaying the verdicts to favour the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that hopes to form the next government in the state that is currently under president's rule.
"The speaker is waiting for the formation of the alternative government. If he passes judgement then it may affect the possibilities of the UPA forming the government. Aalam is behaving like a Congress legislator instead of being an impartial speaker," state BJP president Raghubar Das told IANS.
The BJP has demanded dissolution of the state assembly and fresh elections. President's rule was imposed on Jan 19 after no alliance came forward to form a government.
In the last three months, some of the pending defection cases have became irrelevant. Of the five legislators against whom the BJP had complained, one has returned to the party and two have resigned from the assembly.