The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to Jharkhand Chief Minister (CM) Arjun Munda on a public interest petition seeking the revocation of his appointment on the ground that he was not an MLA.
Munda was appointed as the CM on September 11, 2010, after the BJP and JMM struck a power-sharing deal in the politically unstable state that has seen eight governments and two spells of President’s rule since its inception on November 15, 2000.
A Bench headed by justice Altmas Kabir also issued notices to the Jharkhand Governor and JMM leader Shibu Soren. The notices were issued after petitioner Dev Ashish Bhattacharya submitted that Article 164(4) of the Constitution, which allows a minister/chief minister to hold an office for six months without being a member of the state assembly, was being abused grossly in the state. Soren had also been thrice appointed as the CM of the state without being an MLA.
Describing Article 164(4) as an exception to enable a leader of the majority party to serve as the CM and contest any assembly seat so as to fulfil the expectations of the electorate, the petitioner contended that it could not be used as a rule.
Recourse to Article 164 (4) for appointment of a non-legislator minister in Jharkhand has been made a number of times not to bring forth a representative and responsible government but to sub-serve the malafide and selfish political aspirations and to keep the wield of the political power within the fold of a few chosen political parties, the petitioner stated.