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HC dismisses disqualification petition against Vishwajit

PANAJI: In a relief to the Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and the state government, the High Court of Bombay at Goa has dismissed the disqualification petition filed against Rane by the Congress party.

The Congress party had sought Rane’s disqualification on the grounds that he defied the party whip during the vote of confidence of the government led by Manohar Parrikar on March 16, 2017.

The division bench of the High Court comprising Justices G S Patel and N D Sardessai observed, “The petition takes up two conflicting positions simultaneously. These cannot coexist. There is a challenge, as we have seen, to the Speaker’s acceptance of Vishwajit’s resignation. But if that acceptance is bad, then the Speaker must have jurisdiction and the petition does not lie. The only remedy is to go to the Speaker, and, after his decision is rendered, to bring a challenge on the limited grounds of judicial review. Yet the petition says the Speaker does not have jurisdiction; and he does not have it because he accepted Vishwajit’s resignation, that is, that the acceptance of the resignation is good. It follows, therefore, that Vishwajit vacated his seat once his resignation was accepted; and no question remained of deciding any disqualification. The petitioners cannot maintain that the Speaker’s acceptance of the resignation is simultaneously both good and bad. Again, the petition will not lie. In either scenario, the result is, inevitably, only one. The petition must fail.”

During an earlier hearing, the High Court had hinted that the petitioner should have first approached the Speaker and then the judiciary. The Congress counsel had told the High Court that it will not go before the Speaker of the Goa legislative assembly for redressal of its petition filed against Vishwajit Rane. Rane’s lawyer had raised the issue of the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain disqualification plea saying the disqualification matter can be decided by the Speaker.

The High Court observed that it is inappropriate to express distrust in the high office of the Speaker, merely because some of the Speakers are alleged, or even found to have discharged their functions not in keeping with the great traditions of that high office. The robes of the Speaker do change and elevate the man inside.

Meanwhile, welcoming the order, Rane said, “I salute the High Court for giving the right judgment. We all knew from the beginning that there was no case but only in order to cover up their mistakes and divert the attention of the public, this petition was filed against me. I always believed in the judiciary and continue to do so irrespective of whatever tricks the Congress plays.”

Addressing media persons in Panaji, Rane said, “I have full faith in the legislature where the disqualification petition case is pending against me before the Speaker of the House.”

It may be recalled that Rane was elected from the Valpoi constituency on a Congress ticket in the February assembly election, but it failed to form government despite emerging as the single largest party.

Stating that Congress leaders are being investigated by different enforcement agencies in the illegalities such as matka and mining, which some of them did during their tenure, Rane said, “Some of the Congress leaders are under the cloud as a result of which they are feeling insecure about future and I am sure they will be exposed in due course of time.”

Rane thanked the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the BJP for their support during the time when disqualification petition was pending before the High Court.

“My career and my future lie with Parrikar and I will always be with him and I will do everything to strengthen BJP in my constituency and nearby areas like Poriem, Bicholim and Mayem. I will ensure that all my supporters join BJP in due course of time,” he said.

Leader of Opposition Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar said that the Congress has not received the copy of High Court order thus the party is yet to decide whether to challenge it in Supreme Court or not.

“All India Congress Committee, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee and Congress Legislature party had jointly filed disqualification petition against Rane. However, we have not received court order copy. AICC, GPCC and CLP will decide further course of action by taking opinion of legal experts once we receive the copy of the order,” Kavlekar said.

Source: HC dismisses disqualification petition against Vishwajit

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