A division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court presided over by Chief Justice Hemant Gupta refused to stay the Election Commission order of June 23, in which the EC panel disqualified Madhya Pradesh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs & Public Relations Narottam Mishra.
The decision came after Mr. Mishra’s counsel sought a stay on the EC’s order, disqualifying him for three years for filing wrong accounts on election expenditure during the 2008 Assembly election.
According to an act of the Parliament – Representation of People Act (1951) – a member of state legislature should not have failed to lodge a correct account of his election expenses within the time. If a member of state legislature fails to do so, he shall be disqualified by the concerned authority.
The judge deferred the hearing for two weeks, following a plea moved by complainant Rajendra Bharti’s lawyer, requesting adjournment and seeking transfer of the petition to the Supreme Court.
On what grounds can a member of State Legislature be disqualified?
Under the Constitution, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of state:
- if he holds any office of profit under the Union or State government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by state legislature);
- if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court;
- if he is an undischarged insolvent;
- if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state;
- if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament;
Accordingly, the Parliament has prescribed a number of additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951). These are similar to those for members of Parliament.:
- He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections;
- He must not have been convicted of any offences resulting in imprisonment for two or more years. But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
- He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
- He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
- He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25% share.
- He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.
- He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity b/w different groups or for the offence of bribery.
- He must not have been punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.
The Hindu Newspaper
Indian Polity by Laxmikanth