Office-of-profit row: It falls on new Governor to decide CM Soren’s fate - Hindustan Times
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Office-of-profit row: It falls on new Governor to decide CM Soren’s fate

By, Ranchi
Feb 13, 2023 10:40 PM IST

Raj Bhawan officials said Bais is likely to leave on February 16 to take charge as Maharashtra Governor and Radhakrishnan could arrive in Ranchi a day later.

With Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais headed for Maharashtra, the onus of passing the order on Election Commission’s recommendation on office-of-profit charges against chief minister Hemant Soren would now lie on the new occupant of the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi, CP Radhakrishnan.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (ANI)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (ANI)

Raj Bhawan officials said Bais is likely to leave on February 16 to take charge as Maharashtra Governor and Radhakrishnan could arrive in Ranchi a day later.

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It’s been a year since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party in Jharkhand, made its complaint to Bais on February 11, seeking disqualification of Soren from assembly for allegedly holding an office-of-profit by granting himself a stone chips mining lease. On the Governor’s reference, the Election Commission of India (ECI) sent its recommendation on August 25 on the issue after conducting a months-long hearings.

However, Bais never passed an order despite requests from the ruling dispensation, leading to strained relationship between Raj Bhawan and the state government, which accused the Governor of violating constitutional provisions. Bais, on his part, maintained he was taking legal consultation on the issue before passing his order.

Constitutional law experts said the onus would now be on the new Governor to pass the order.

“The ECI opinion was sought by Raj Bhawan. So, at some point, the Governor will have to pass the order because that is what the Constitution mandates on this issue. The provisions clearly say the Governor shall act on recommendation of the ECI over the issue,” said PDT Achary, former secretary general of Lok Sabha.

Achary, though, said the Constitution does not mention any time frame to pass the order.“But it should have been passed straightaway as the ECI opinion is mandatory,” he said.

Bais took over as Jharkhand Governor on July 14, 2021, from Draupadi Murmu, who had a long tenure of over six years.

Besides the mining lease controversy, Bais’s tenure also remained in news for confrontation with the state government on several occasions, including returning several bills of the government for various reasons.

Some important bills returned to the government include anti-lynching bill and the 1932 Khatiyan Bill which made land records of 1932 and before the basis to determine state’s domicile and for reserving grade 3 and 4 jobs for the locals.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Kant works as an Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He tracks developments in Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi government. Vishal has spent about a decade covering the city politics and governance, besides writing on Delhi’s civic issues, urban transport and infrastructure.

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