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SC dismisses PIL challenging dissolution of JK Assembly

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BJP expels petitioner former MLA

New Delhi/Jammu: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL challenging the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik.

“We are not inclined to interfere (with the decision of the Governor),” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by BJP leader Gagan Bhagat, who was an MLA before the Assembly was dissolved.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, which was in suspended animation, was abruptly dissolved by the Governor on November 21, hours after the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress.

This was followed by another bid from the People’s Conference, which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti wrote to Governor that her party, which has 29 MLAs, was backed by the National Conference and the Congress with 15 and 12 legislators, respectively.

The dissolution was announced by Malik in a communique released by the Raj Bhavan.

The six-month tenure of Governor’s rule ends on December 18. This will be followed by President’s rule. The State Assembly’s tenure was till October 2020.

Governor’s rule was clamped in the state on June 19 for a six-month period following the collapse of the Mehbooba Mufti-headed PDP-BJP coalition government after the saffron party withdrew support. The State Assembly was kept in suspended animation so political parties could explore the possibility of forming a new government.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP Monday expelled its former MLA and senior leader Gagan Bhagat for indiscipline and anti-party activities.

In August, Bhagat was suspended for three months on the recommendation of the disciplinary committee of the J&K BJP for his role in the alleged abduction of an ex-serviceman’s daughter.

Going against the party line, the MLA had on December 03 moved the Supreme Court challenging the dissolution of State Assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik calling it “unconstitutional and undemocratic”.

“In view of his continued indiscipline, anti-party and anti-Jammu activities, J&K BJP president Ravindra Raina has expelled Gagan Bhagat from the party with immediate effect,” party chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said here.

“Bhagat has neither followed the instructions of the disciplinary committee nor showed the discipline expected of a member of the BJP,” Sethi added.

Sethi urged the party cadre and the people of R S Pura constituency– represented by Bhagat– not to entertain the expelled leader.

According to the J&K Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson the report of the disciplinary committee was submitted to Raina in July following the ex-serviceman accusing Bhagat of abducting his daughter from her college in Punjab.

The committee also said that within the suspension period, Bhagat should settle all dispute to the satisfaction of the complainant parties, he added.

The charge was denied by the woman as well as Bhagat, who termed the allegation as an attempt to defame him.

The lawmaker’s wife, however, accused him of having an extra-marital affair with the woman.





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