Governor forwards petition seeking disqualification of 14 MLAs to ECI

Gangtok, 24 Jan:

With just two months to go for Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to break the record of former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Late Jyoti Basu as the longest serving CM of the country, there could be another embarrassment awaiting the SDF government with Governor Shriniwas Patil today forwarding the case of Pahalman Subba and others seeking disqualification of 14 Sikkim Democratic Front legislators.

The Sikkim High Court on 25 Aug, last year had struck down the Parliamentary Secretaries Appointment and Allowances Act, 2010 as unconstitutional after Pahalman Subba and others including the principal opposition party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha had petitioned the court.

Striking down the Sikkim Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2010, the division bench had observed that Article 194 does not expressly authorise the state legislature to create offices such as the one in question giving liberty to the petitioners to appropriate forum on the issues of disqualification and other related issues if advised so.

In light of the above judgment, Pahalman Subba, OP Bhandari and Navin Kiran Pradhan had petitioned the Governor seeking disqualification of 14 sitting legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries, Government Chief Whip, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee and Chairperson of Estimate Committee on grounds of holding ‘office of profit’ and availing other benefits.

Speaking to reporters today, one of the petitioners Navin Kiran Pradhan, informed of a letter dated 24 Jan 2018 sent to him from the Governor's Secretariat intimating that their case has been forwarded to the Election Commission of India seeking recommendations as per prescribed procedure upholding the constitutional mandate.

He said that despite a delay of three months in taking the decision to recommend the matter to the appropriate authority, the petitioners are thankful to the Raj Bhawan for the decision. He added that their case is stronger than the Delhi AAP legislators' case.

We just want the correct precedent to be set where law applies to all including those in power and such political appointments at the cost of public exchequer is not allowed, he stated.