On disqualification plea against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Election Commission sends opinion to Governor

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sent its opinion to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais in the matter of disqualifying state Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA for misusing his position, The Indian Express has learned.

Sources said the Election Commission recently completed a hearing on the reference received from Jharkhand Governor Bais. Bais had sought the commission’s opinion on a complaint filed by state BJP members disqualifying Hemant Soren from the state assembly for abusing his position as Jharkhand’s mining and forest minister and allotting himself a stone mining lease. was demanded.

However, Soren said that the Chief Minister’s Office has not received any letter from the Election Commission or Governor Ramesh Bais in this regard. The Chief Minister said, “It seems that BJP leaders… Puppet journalists themselves have drafted the ECI report, which is otherwise a sealed cover report. Gross misuse of constitutional authorities, public agencies and its complete takeover by the BJP headquarters. .. is unseen in Indian democracy,” the chief minister said.

“The Commission’s opinion was sent by an early morning flight. A source in the Election Commission told The Indian Express that it would be communicated by the Governor as and when he deems it fit.

In May, the poll watchdog issued a notice to Soren seeking his response to the complaint, saying the CM had, prima facie, violated Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.

Under Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, a person who has an existing contract with the Government is not eligible to be elected as a member. And hence, an elected member who has entered into a contract with the Government “for the supply of goods” or “for the performance of any act done by the Government”, is liable to disqualification.

The BJP has alleged that Soren while heading the mining department, had allotted himself a stone chips mining lease in 2021 in violation of the office of profit norms. The BJP has accused Soren of allotting mining leases to himself, his political advisor Pankaj Mishra and press adviser Abhishek Prasad when he took charge of the state’s mining department.

The ruling party at the Center has also given a representation to the Governor, who has forwarded it to the Election Commission under Article 192 of the Constitution. Under Article 192, the Governor can, on the opinion of the election panel, decide to disqualify an elected member of the State Legislative Assembly.

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