HC Stays BJP's Disqualification Notice to Chaman Lal

HC Stays BJP's Disqualification Notice to Chaman Lal
In a setback to the BJP, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today stayed the operation of disqualification notice issued to expelled leader of BJP Legislative Party Prof Chama Lal Gupta.

Gupta said he was relieved after the order.

Justice Hasnain Masoodi ordered status-quo on the proceedings and communication (disqualification notice issued by BJP MLA Jugal Kishore to Gupta) of the May 23 notice till June 9.

Kishore, elected as new Leader of BJP Legislative Party by four legislators, issued notice to Gupta on his disqualification along with 6 other suspended MLAs.

Gupta moved the high court challenging his expulsion and disqualification.

Besides Gupta, six other suspended and disqualified MLAs filed the same petition in which they submitted before the court that they are elected members of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Gupta is elected leader of their party.

The petitioner also challenged the legality of the disqualification notice by Kishore, acting head of BJPLP, as being without jurisdiction and competence.

The court had issued notices to the BJP, J&K government and four party MLAs besides others.

Gupta and six other BJP MLAs were suspended by the party on May 31 for cross voting in legislative council elections last month.

Gupta said, "How can they expel me like this without any notice? Even a murder accused gets an opportunity to defend himself".

"I have built the party brick by brick for 65 years in the most difficult circumstances. It is a conspiracy against me and the people of Jammu region," he said.

Gupta denied receiving any expulsion notice and said, "I have even today not got an expulsion notice. What I am hearing is all from newspapers."

Acting Leader of BJP legislative party Jugal Kishore Sharma had issued notices to seven suspended party legislators, including Gupta, for disqualification as MLAs on May 23. Four BJP members had chosen Sharma as their legislative party leader.

The seven MLAs against whom the notice of disqualification has been issued also include Bharat Bhushan, Gharu Ram Bhagat, Baldev Sharma, Master Lal Chand, Jagdish Raj Sapolia and Durga Dass. They, however, did not reply and defied the summons.

Seven of eleven BJP MLAs had voted in favour of ruling National Conference and Congress candidates during the LC polls and only four votes were polled in favour of the party's candidate Ranjit Singh.

Gadkari had suspended the seven MLAs after a BJP Parliamentary Board meeting on April 20. He had also issued them show cause notices for the cross-voting episode.

Rest of the four MLAs - deputy leader of BJP Legislative party Jugal Kishore Sharma, chief whip Ashok Khajuria, Sham Choudhary and Sukhnandan Choudhary - were given a clean chit.

A day after the cross-voting incident, the party sought resignation letters of all the 11 legislators on April 14.
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