Telangana HC issues notice to Congress defectors over merger with TRS

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday issued notices to 14 state Congress legislators over their merger with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in both houses of the state legislature.

The court also issued notices to the Assembly Speaker, Council Chairman, Legislature Secretary and the Election Commission.

Hearing separate petitions filed by Congress leaders challenging merger of the defecting Congress MLAs with the TRS in both the state Assembly and Legislative Council, a division bench adjourned the hearing by four weeks.

The notices were issued to 10 members of the Assembly and four members of the Legislative Council.

Congress party leader in the Assembly Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy challenged the merger of the Congress MLAs in the Assembly while senior leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir challenged the action of the Council chairman in merging the party legislators with the TRS.

The petitions by Vikramarka and Reddy were filed in April, seeking directions to Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy not to allow merger of the Congress MLAs without hearing the party.

They had also complained that the Speaker took no action over their petitions to disqualify the defectors.

As the Speaker merged 12 Congress MLAs with TRS on June 6, the Congress leaders filed a fresh petition, questioning the validity of the merger. This petition is expected to come up for hearing on Wednesday.

However, dealing with the earlier petition, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akhtar issued the notices to 10 MLAs, the Speaker, Legislature Secretary and the Election Commission.

With regard to the petition filed by Shabbir, the court issued notices to the four MLCs, the Council Chairman, the Legislature Secretary and the Election Commission.

Last month, while hearing the petitions of Vikramarka and Reddy, the court had observed that there was no urgency to pass orders on the writ petition. It had also said that it would set aside the merger notifications if it found any illegality.