Saikia to remain Leader of Opp as court disposes of appeal

GUWAHATI: A division bench of Gauhati High Court has disposed of an appeal filed by the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) Secretariat, seeking vacation of the stay order passed by a single judge in connection with the de-recognition of Congress Legislature Party leader, Debabrata Saikia as Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

The division bench on Wednesday directed the ALA Secretariat to approach the single judge and seek redress, implying that Saikia will continue to remain as the Leader of Opposition in ALA.

The matter has been fixed for hearing before the single judge on January 29, 2021.

Saikia had, earlier this month, moved the High Court seeking its intervention. Subsequently, the court had put an interim stay on the Assembly Speaker’s notification which had derecognised the Nazira MLA as the Leader of Opposition.

The court stated that the notification under challenge was “unsustainable under law.”

It may be mentioned that the Assam Assembly Speaker had withdrawn the recognition of Saikia as Leader of Opposition after two Congress MLAs quit and joined the ruling BJP, reducing the grand old party’s number of lawmakers to 20, one less than the 21 needed to have one-sixth of the total members of the Assembly.

According to the Speaker’s notification (dated January 1, 2021), the Opposition Congress does not have the requisite one-sixth House strength in the 126-member Assembly to hold the post of Leader of the Opposition.

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