HC fines Congmen, dismisses petition

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 01 August 2002 23:36 IST

Goa's three leading Congress legislators have been fined by the high court for wasting time of the court for their own political gains, while dismissing their pleas challenging dissolution of the state Assembly on 27 February.

A new Assembly in the state has already been constituted after holding fresh elections in June, with the BJP once again holding reins of power.

The petitions challenging the dissolution were referred to the third judge after there was a split judgement delivered by the division bench on 8 May, while fresh polls were already notified on 5 May.

Justice V C Daga of the Mumbai high court, deciding upon the two separate petitions, declined to revive the old Assembly and take away the vested rights of the newly elected members. On the contrary, he preferred to dismiss the petitions with heavy cost.

Former chief minister Luizinho Faleiro, former minister Francisco Silveira and former Congress spokesman Jitendra Deshprabhu have been now told to pay Rs 25,000 each.

According to Justice Daga, all the three petitioners - elected once again to the new Assembly - should not have pursued the matter but help the court by gracefully withdrawing petitions when they had participated in the fresh election process.

"It appears that the petitioners proceeded only to gain political mileage. The practice of using the judicial fora or courts for political benefits needs to be arrested. The petitions thus need to dismissed with heavy cost", stated the judgement.

The petitions were also dismissed on the ground that it is no longer a live issue but has become academic due to fresh polls. Secondly, as the fresh elections were also not challenged, the judge said it would be impermissible to revive the dissolved Assembly.

According to Justice Daga, the petitions also did not challenge the constitutional validity of the governor's decision to dissolve the Assembly but whether it was a hasty decision. It was a cabinet decision to recommend dissolution and the governor has a right to dissolve the Assembly accordingly, he added.

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