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Manipur Governor Will Decide Soon On ECI Opinion Regarding Disqualification Of 12 BJP MLAs, Solicitor General Assures Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
11 Nov 2021 8:02 AM GMT
Manipur Governor Will Decide Soon On ECI Opinion Regarding Disqualification Of 12 BJP MLAs, Solicitor General Assures Supreme Court
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The Solicitor General of India on Thursday assured the Supreme Court that the Manipur Governor will take a decision soon on the opinion given by the Election Commission of India regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs of Manipur Assembly in the "office of profit" issue.The assurance was given by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta before the bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and...

The Solicitor General of India on Thursday assured the Supreme Court that the Manipur Governor will take a decision soon on the opinion given by the Election Commission of India regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs of Manipur Assembly in the "office of profit" issue.

The assurance was given by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta before the bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna.

The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by D. D. Thaisii, Congress MLA from Manipur, who sought for disqualification of these 12 MLAs on the ground that they were holding the posts of Parliamentary Secretaries, which amounted to "offices of profit".

When the matter was called for hearing, Justice L Nageswara Rao presiding judge of the bench told the Solicitor General to use his good offices so that the same can be given.

"In January, an opinion was given by the Election Commission. According to Article 192(of Constitution), the Governor has to go with the decisions. In 11 month nothing has happened. We don't want to pass an order but please your good offices so that opinion is given so that they can be challenged," Justice Rao told the Solicitor General.

"I assure we'll do something and no direction will be required to be passed," Solicitor General replied.

Earlier, on November 9,  the Supreme Court had orally observed that the Governor of Manipur cannot delay taking a decision on the opinion given by the Election Commission of India regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs of Manipur Assembly in the "office of profit" issue.

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna made this observation after noting that the Governor is yet to take a decision on the opinion furnished by the Election Commission on January 13, 2021.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, had submitted that the Governor cannot keep the decision pending. He had highlighted that the term of the assembly was expiring within a month.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the respondents, had relied on Article 192 of the Constitution of India to submit that the opinion of the Election Commission was binding on the Governor.

"Opinion of EC is binding on the Governor. Only 1 month is left. You cannot challenge the decision of the Governor. You cannot attack the opinion of the EC," Senior Counsel had further submitted.

Justice Rao had said that there are instances where the Court has nudged the Governor to take time-bound decision. The judge referred to the case of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Perarivalan, where the Tamil Nadu Governor was delaying a decision on the recommendation made by the State Government for remission of his sentence.

The matter was then adjourned to today for the appearance of the Solicitor General.

The writ petition had stated that 12 members of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries for the State of Manipur. The Offices titled as Parliamentary Secretary for the State of Manipur, are Offices of Profit, as the said appointment elevated the 12 members of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur to the rank and status of Minister of State and also entitled them to draw higher Salary and Allowances. The 12 members of the Legislative Assembly, who were appointed and who accepted appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, therefore, occupied Office of Profit and thus automatically incurred the disqualification under Article 191 of the Constitution of India and are not entitled to continue as Members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, the petitioner had argued.

Case Title: D.D Thaisii v. Election Commission of India | WP(C)151/2021

Click Here To Read The Order


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