Soren may have to resign, but can come back as Jharkhand CM:Experts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Soren may have to resign, but can come back as Jharkhand CM:Experts

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aug 26, 2022 06:11 AM IST

According to Article 75(5) of the Indian Constitution, a minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either House of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister.

Constitutional and parliamentary experts were of the opinion that Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren may have to resign if the report of the Election Commission (EC) has recommended to the governor that he be disqualified as a member of the state due to an “office of profit” case. But, the experts said, if his party renominates him as floor leader, there may be no legal bar for him to become the CM.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (PTI file photo)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (PTI file photo)

“He has been disqualified from the assembly. But he can still remain a chief minister or a minister if his party elects him for the post. Our Constitution allows an unelected minister to remain in power for a maximum period of six months. So, if he has to continue beyond six months, he must get himself re-elected in a by-poll,” said former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary.

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Also Read| No threat to J'khand government, says JMM; BJP says truth will prevail

It was not clear if the EC report has also recommended that he be barred from contesting elections for a longer time period.

According to Article 75(5) of the Indian Constitution, a minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either House of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, however, feels that Soren may fight it out and challenge EC’s report before the Supreme Court.

EC has ostensibly recommended the disqualification of Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren -- the report has been sent to governor Ramesh Bais in a sealed envelope -- on an “office of profit” complaint that accused him of holding a mining lease in Angara block of Ranchi.

This is not the first time when a lawmaker has been disqualified for allegedly holding an office of profit. In 2006, Congress president Sonia Gandhi stepped down as a Lok Sabha MP after allegations were made about her holding chairperson’s position in National Advisory Council. Gandhi was advised by her party colleagues to seek a fresh term from Rae Bareli, and meanwhile, the office of profit law was amended to exempt the NAC chairperson’s post.

In the same year, Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha as she was also the chairperson of the UP state film development council.

Singhvi told HT, “Soren has the right to challenge EC’s decision in the court, and if he gets a stay order, he doesn’t need to quit office even for a day. But if the court rejects his appeal, he has no other option but to resign.”

Also Read| Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in survival battle as EC report goes to guv

Congress leaders said on Thursday that the party will continue to support the JMM in Jharkhand, and remained optimistic about the future of the government. “He has two choices before him. Either he can continue as the CM or can nominate someone else for the post. But we will continue to support JMM,” a senior leader said, asking not to be named.

Avinash Pandey, the Congress’s Jharkhand in-charge, said, “From the day the JMM-Congress government had been formed in Jharkhand, the BJP tried everything to weaken the government and dismiss it using federal agencies such as ED and CBI. We will talk to all allies and take a decision. We will also expect the largest ally (JMM) to take others into confidence.”

The JMM has 30 seats in the 81-member assembly, while its allies the Congress has 18 seats. The Opposition BJP has 25seats.

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