Jolt for MPA: SC to hear its petition on March 24

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) In a major setback to the post-poll alliance of the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance(MPA), the Supreme Court today refused to hear on an urgent basis its petition challenging the appointment of Mr D D Lapang as Meghalaya Chief Minister before the trial of strength on the floor of the House.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari turned down the request of senior counsel Soli J Sorabjee for hearing the matter tomorrow and fixed March 24 for hearing the case.

Mr Lapang was sworn in as Chief Minister by Governor S S Sidhu on March 10 and has been given 19 days to prove his majority on the floor of the House, which means the trial of strength must take place on or before March 20.

Earlier, Mr Sorabjee contended that the MPA was having a clear strength of 31 in the House having a total strength of 60 and the state Governor bungled by denying an opportunity to the majority alliance leader Don Kupar Roy to form the government.

He also pleaded with the court that the leader of the single largest party, the Congress, having a strength of 25 should not have been invited to form a government when MPA alliance had demonstrated its strength before the state Governor on March 10 itself.

He also contended that the petitioner cannot be presented with a fate accompli situation.

The judges, however, told petitioner Conard K Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, to have faith in his MLAs.

Counsel for the petitioner, however, pleaded for advancing the date of trial of strength so that Lapang does not get an opportunity to maniuplate majority through unethical method such as horsetrading through allurements. The court, however, declined to interfere with the decision of the state Governor and refused to advance the date of trial of strength on the floor of the House.


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