Office of Profit: SC Directs Election Commission to Disqualify 12 Manipur MLAs

Office of Profit: SC Directs Election Commission to Disqualify 12 Manipur MLAs

On Friday, the Supreme Court released a notice in support of a written petition requesting directions from the Election Commission of India to give its opinion to the Election Commission of India. To allow the expeditious disposal of the petition concerning the disqualification of 12 Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur, the Governor of Manipur was disqualified under Article 192 of the Constitution of India for the holding of professional offices. 

Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat, a division of the Bench of Justice, considered a petition lodged by DD Thaisii, Congress MLA of Manipur, requesting guidance from the Election Commission to meet its constitutional duty under Article 192.

According to the petitioner, it is the statutory responsibility of the Election Commission to apply its advice to the Governor of Manipur and the absence of a constitutional duty to be fulfilled by a constitutional authority cannot be maintained. Accordingly, the Election Commission should be instructed to fulfill its task and apply its opinion to the Governor expeditiously, in the interests of justice, and to preserve the purity of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur.

The plea charges that twelve members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries for the State of Manipur. The Offices titled as Parliamentary Secretary for the State of Manipur are Benefit Offices, as the 12 representatives of the State of Manipur were elevated by that appointment. The Manipur Legislative Assembly has the rank and position of Minister of State and has also granted them the right to earn higher salaries and allowances. Accordingly, the 12 members of the Legislative Assembly who have been appointed and who have been appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries have occupied the Office of Profit and are therefore automatically disqualified pursuant to Article 191 of the Constitution of India and are not entitled to continue as Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur.

Furthermore, the complaint claimed that the petitioners had lodged a petition with the Governor of Manipur to take a call on the disqualification of the 12 members referred to in Article 192 of the Constitution of India. The Governor of Manipur referred the application, as provided for in Article 192 of the Constitution of India, to the Election Commission of India for its opinion. The Election Commission did not, however, offer its opinion with a view to the disposal of the petition.

This Written Petition is lodged with a view to preserving the purity of the legislative assembly of the State of Manipur, as the Election Commission of India has failed to discharge its constitutional obligation on the ground that 12 members of the legislative assembly of the State of Manipur, ineligible pursuant to Article 191(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, continue to be members of the House of Representatives. 

In its plea, the petitioner submitted that, based on the comparison formed by the Supreme Court in its previous judgments, it was for the quasi-judicial body acting as a tribunal to determine the matter of disqualification within a reasonable span of time and to have an outer limit of 3 months. In the present situation, the legislative purpose of deciding on the disqualification of membership remains the same and the Election Commission is bound by statute to support the Governor within 3 months, i.e., the outer limit, in presenting his decision on the subject.

The petition quoted the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Brudaban Nayak v. Election Commission of India (1965), in which it was held by the Constitution Bench that it is of the utmost importance that complaints made pursuant to Article 192(1) of the Constitution of India must be dealt with expeditiously. 

The petition was lodged by Advocate Rajesh Mahale on behalf of D.D Thaisii, the petitioner.

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‘Law is not law if it violates the principles of eternal Justice’ very beautifully penned down by Lydia Maria Child and I strongly believe, if the law is not made for the goods of people then at least it should not violate the essence of the principle of law that is “JUSTICE”. Law is made to keep each section of society on an equal platform and being a member of the law fraternity, I will try to contribute to the welfare of society. I am Purnima and I graduated from zoology (Hons) and am currently pursuing a law degree from Lloyd law college, Greater Noida. My desire is to bring a fair and unjust environment to our society through my hard work and persistent efforts.