The Telangana High Court on Friday issued notices to Telangana Legislative Council chairperson K Swamy Goud and others over a petition that was filed, seeking disqualification of four Congress MLCs who defected to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The petition also wanted the subsequent merger of the Congress Legislature Party into the TRS Legislative Party, to be declared as 'illegal'.
In December last year, just days after the Legislative Assembly elections, four Congress MLCs led by Akula Lalitha met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and later submitted a representation to Goud, for the merger. As it was accepted, an angered Congress moved the High Court.
The petitioners argued that the Election Commission of India was the competent authority to carry out the merger, adding that the Telangana Council Chairman did not have that power.
After hearing all sides, the court posted the case for further hearing in four weeks.
In December, the Congress MLCs who defected argued that they had the required strength for merger into TRSLP under paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India. The paragraph being cited by the leaders in the Constitution deals with disqualification of elected representatives, and says that â€˜disqualification on ground of defection need not apply in case of a merger.â€™
Even as the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) cried foul, the chairman ratified the defection, thereby cancelling the 'Opposition' status that Congress enjoyed. A party needs at least four MLCs in the state's Legislative Council for the same.
The Congress in Telangana is also badly hit, as after winning just 19 out of the 119 seats in the Assembly, it has witnessed a slew of defections, with over 10 sitting MLAs jumping ship to the TRS.
However, it received a boost in March as candidates backed by the TRS lost the elections to three seats of the Legislative Council.
Senior Congress leader and former Minister T Jeevan Reddy was declared elected from Karimnagar-Adilabad-Nizamabad-Medak graduates constituency. K Raghotham Reddy of Progressive Recognised Teachers' Union (PRTU), supported by the Congress, won Karimnagar-Adilabad-Nizamabad-Medak teachers constituency, while United Teachers' Federation (UTF) candidate A Narsireddy, backed by the Congress and the CPI, won the Nalgonda-Khammam-Warangal teachers constituency.