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SP MP moves court for Navin Chawla's removal

In his petition, Chandra Bhushan Singh questioned under what authority Chawla was holding his office as Election Commissioner.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 21:17 IST

A Samajwadi Party MP on Saturday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, saying he had apprehensions about his impartiality in view of the allegations of impropriety levelled against him.

In his petition, Chandra Bhushan Singh questioned under what authority Chawla was holding his office as Election Commissioner.

"If this is the calibre and character of the persons appointed to the Election Commission, then the petitioner fears that it may result in subversion of the ethos and basic principles of the Constitution."

In his petition, he contended that Chawla was unfit to discharge his function as Election Commissioner as the Shah Commission, which was constituted to investigate into excesses committed during the Emergency, has given several findings against him.

The petition said Chawla was allotted a plot of land in Delhi for which contribution came from three Congress politicians. Besides, the Jaipur Development Authority had allotted a six-acre land at a throw away price and the donation for construction of the building was made by two MPs from the MP Local Area Development Scheme funds, it said.

The MP alleged that the Lepra India Trust run by Chawla's wife received donations from Congress MPs.

The MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Offices of Profit, also sought clarifications on the term "office of profit".

He said disqualifications contemplated under Article 102 (1) (a) of the Constitution and the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1956, and various judgements of the apex court were vague.

"There are still a lot of issues which are not covered by the said judgements as to what constitutes an office of profit and when can it be said to be an Office of Profit under the Government of India or of any State in order to disqualify a person under Article 102 (1)(a) of the Constitution," he said.

He added that it was the function and duty of the Joint Committee of the Parliament to periodically examine as to what would constitute an Office of Profit. Therefore, he said, Article 103 (1) of the Constitution should necessarily be interpreted to mean that the question as to "whether a Member of either House (of Parliament) has become subject to disqualification must be a question raised by the committee".

He also urged the court to restrain the Election Commission from acting on the various applications on which the president had sought opinion. He said the Election Commission should first consult and obtain the view of the Joint Parliamentary Committee before taking any decision on the petitions.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 21:17 IST