Govt in a fix over 'tainted ministers'

The SCs observation about the 'illegal ministers', whose membership has been terminated, has created a piquant situation in the state government, reports Masoodul Hasan.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2007 18:31 IST

The Supreme Court's observation about the "illegal ministers", whose membership has been terminated, has created a piquant situation in the state government.

With the disqualification of 13 BSP defectors with effect from August 27, 2003, their continuation as ministers so far has led to serious legal crisis in the government. The Agriculture Minister and senior Samajwadi Party Dr Ashok Bajpai, welcoming the decision, said "appropriate decision about these ministers".

The court observed that "considering that if the 13 members are found to be disqualified, their continuance in the assembly even for a day would be illegal and unconstitutional and their holding of office as ministers would also be illegal at least after the expiry of six months from the date of their taking charge of the office of ministers, we think that as a court bound to protect the Constitution and its values and principles of democracy, which is a basic feature of the Constitution, this court has to take decision one way or the other on the question of the disqualification of 13 MLAs based on their action on August 27, 2003 and on the material available."

Dr Bajpai said the government would "study the implications of the decision about the disqualified ministers".

Of the 13 members ten are still in the government. While seven of them- Rajpal Tyagi, Rajendra Singh Rana, Yogesh Pratap Singh, Virendra Singh Bundela, Dinesh Singh, Shailendra Yadav and Jai Prakash Yadav are ministers, Rajendra Singh Chauhan, Nawab Kazim Ali and Qutubuddin Ansari, who were earlier ministers, are now chairmen of the corporations.

Of the remaining three members two- Jaivir Singh and Surendra Vikram Singh had resigned from the Mulayam Singh Yadav ministry after High Court judgment in February 2006 and gone back to the BSP and Brijendra Pratap Singh had joined the VP Singh led Jan Morcha.

The court's observation about the illegality of these ministers after their disqualification from retrospective effect is a major setback for the Yadav government.

They continued as ministers without being members of either House for more than two-and-half-year, which is unconstitutional.

The leader of the Teachers group in Vidhan Parishad Om Prakash Sharma told Hindustan Times over phone that "whatever they did in the government after the expiry of six months was illegal. "They were strangers to the House as well as to the government after six months", Sharma commented.

However Dr Bajpai said that government had been considering the issue. He said since the government had welcomed the decision it would take all steps required in it. However he refused to comment whether the ministers would be removed.

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First Published: Feb 15, 2007 18:31 IST