A Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday expressed hope that the decision on a petition seeking to disqualify Mukul Roy as MLA will be taken by West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee.

The disqualification plea filed by Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari is scheduled for hearing on December 21 before the Assembly Speaker.

We hope that the Speaker proceeds with the matter on December 21, 2021 and decides the same in accordance with law, the Bench consisting of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice HIma Kohli said and fixed the case for hearing in January, 2022.

The Bench adjourned the matter taking note of the submissions of Senior Advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Banerjee, that the disqualification plea is scheduled for hearing on December 21 before the Speaker.

The Apex Court did not issue notice on the two separate appeals filed by the Assembly Speaker and the Secretary and the Returning Officer of West Bengal Assembly against the Calcutta High Court's order.

Earlier, the High Court had set a deadline of October 7 for the Speaker to take the decision, stating that if the Speaker doesn't, the Court will take the future course of action in the matter. In a strongly-worded verdict against the Speaker, the High Court had also rejected the argument that it doesn't have jurisdiction to hear the petition against the decision taken by the Speaker, while summoning a record of action taken on the plea of disqualification.

On July 9, Banerjee had appointed Mukul Roy as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is usually held by a legislature of the opposition party. Ambika Roy, BJP MLA of the state, had moved the High Court in July challenging Mukul Roy's election as Chairman of the PAC and prayed for the nomination of an opposition member to the post as per tradition.

Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari had on June 17 had filed the petition before the Speaker seeking disqualification of Roy as a member of the Assembly, claiming that he had defected to the TMC. When the Speaker did not take any decision, he moved a petition in the Calcutta High Court which asserted that both the petitions filed by Ambika Roy and Adhikari are inter-connected.

Roy, who won the Krishnanagar North assembly seat on BJP's ticket and his son Subhrangshu who lost from Bijpur constituency had re-joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) in June this year. Mukul Roy was appointed as the BJP's National Vice-President in September 2020.

Once a close aide of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Benerjee, Roy had resigned from the party in September, 2017 which prompted the party to suspend him for six years citing his anti-party activities. In November, 2017 he joined the BJP and won the polls in May this year. However, a month after his victory, he again joined the TMC without resigning from BJP.

With PTI Inputs