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Lanong ‘vindicated’ by verdict

Shillong, March 27: Meghalaya Speaker Bindo Lanong today called for installation of the popular government, emboldened by Supreme Court ruling favouring his disqualification order on MLAs who have deserted the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, while the Shillong bench of the High Court stayed his order on two other legislators.

The Speaker said there was no reason to remove an elected government that had won the trust vote in the House.

Armed with the Supreme Court’s ruling, Lanong said four of the five legislators would be awarded the final disqualification order. He did not mention a deadline, though.

“The Supreme Court order has vindicated my stand. I am happy that my stand is justified,” he said.

Since the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) legislator Adviser Pariong showed remorse and personally met him to withdraw the disqualification proceedings, Lanong will examine Pariong’s case. Moreover, the HSPDP also wrote a separate letter to the Speaker condoning Pariong’s action, Lanong said at a news conference at his office chamber today.

The Shillong bench of Gauhati High Court, on the other hand, today stayed the interim disqualification order of the Speaker against Independent legislator Ismail Marak, who is also an associate member of the United Democratic Party, and HSPDP member Adviser Pariong.

Earlier, the High Court had stayed the Speaker’s order on three other legislators, Limison Sangma, Paul Lyngdoh and Sanbor Shullai. However, the Speaker downplayed the High Court’s order, citing the Supreme Court ruling that ensured that there was no bar on his part to proceed with the disqualification process.

The Speaker also criticised the four legislators who did not show any signs of remorse for their action.

“I will not even give two months’ time to Limison Sangma, Paul Lyngdoh, Ismail Marak and Sanbor Shullai to explain their position. Their present conduct is enough for the final order of disqualification,” he said.

“They have proved that they will stick to their stand and even challenged the order of the Speaker,” Lanong said.

Though the Supreme Court delivered the interim order urging the Speaker to go ahead with the disqualification process after hearing a special leave petition filed against Limison Sangma, the Speaker indicated that the order would be applicable to all the other four legislators who had deserted the MPA.

However, senior lawyer Debojit Saikia who had argued the case on behalf of the five legislators in the Shillong bench of the Gauhati High Court, today said the Supreme Court had only asked the Speaker to carry on with the disqualification procedure against the legislators, but their voting rights and membership were still intact.

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