Keonjhar Municipality trust vote case: Orissa HC rejects disqualification of 9 rebel BJD councillors


Cuttack: The Orissa High Court today rejected the order of State Election Commission (SEC) to disqualify the membership of the nine BJD councillors of Keonjhar Municipality who had voted against chairperson of the civic body.

With the move of the High Court, the membership of all the nine councillors remained intact.

It may be recalled that the nine rebel councillors of the municipality were charged with violation of anti-defection law as per the amendment to Section 17 of the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 (Odisha Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2015.

The BJD had moved SEC against nine of its rebel councillors after its Keonjhar Municipality chairperson Meena Majhi lost in the no-trust motion on December 28, 2015.

Defying the party whip, these nine BJD councillors had voted in favour of the trust vote.

While BJD had cited violation of anti-defection law and sought disqualification of the nine councilors, the rebel councillors— Sushree Sangeeta Nanda, Dillip Kumar Behera, Swarnalata Sahu, Prabhati Patnaik, Sabita Sethi, Kumudini Nayak, Satrughna Nayak and Sunil Kumar Nayak— had urged the SEC not to disqualify them under the amended law as they had resigned from BJD on January 24, 2016.

Though the councillors urged the SEC not to disqualify them, the commission cancelled their membership in February 22, 2016.

Later the councillors moved the High Court arguing that the disqualification is not applicable in their case as they had moved the no-confidence motion against the chairperson before the amended provision came into force.

Meanwhile, the High Court had also asked the SEC not to come up with a notification for re-election for the nine councillor posts of the municipality till further order.

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