Soren seeks EC opinion despatched to Gov, ballot panel says ‘privileged’ information

THE ELECTION Commission (EC) has turned down Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s request to reveal its opinion shared with the state Governor within the disqualification matter in opposition to him.

Soren’s authorized counsel had written to the EC on September 15 stating that the hearings held earlier than the ballot panel had been judicial in nature, so a duplicate of the opinion tendered to Governor Ramesh Bais ought to be shared along with his consumer.

In its reply, EC stated any communication between the EC and a Governor is “privileged” below Article 192 (2) of the Constitution and revealing it earlier than an order is handed by the Governor would quantity to “breach of constitutional propriety”.

The Commission can be learnt to have cited a latest case earlier than the Supreme Court (DD Thaisii Vs Election Commission of India) concerning the EC’s opinion on a criticism in search of disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs from the Manipur Assembly. In this matter, the EC has stated, the apex courtroom didn’t order it to reveal its opinion after the counsel for the ballot panel knowledgeable the courtroom that disclosure of privileged communication could be improper.

The EC additionally stated that any doc pertaining to a reference acquired from the Governor below Article 192(2) can be exempt from disclosure below the RTI Act except a last order is handed by the Governor.

On August 25, the ballot panel, in its opinion despatched to Bais, had beneficial Soren’s disqualification below Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for allegedly misusing his place to allot a stone-mining lease to himself final yr. Section 9A prohibits elected representatives from getting into into any contract with the federal government for “supply of goods” or “execution of any works undertaken” by it.

The state is in political turmoil as Bais hasn’t formally apprised the state authorities of the EC’s view on Soren’s eligibility to proceed as MLA. Meanwhile, the JMM has alleged makes an attempt by the BJP to poach the ruling alliance’s MLAs.

Before writing to the EC, the occasion had requested the Governor to announce his determination primarily based on the Commission’s opinion. The JMM memorandum to the Governor had acknowledged that “purported selective leaks from your (the Governor’s) office” on the difficulty have led to a “state of chaos, confusion and uncertainty, which vitiates the administration and the governance of the State”.

“This also encourages political brinkmanship to destabilise the democratically elected government headed by CM Soren by illegal means… disqualification, if any, of the CM will not have any effect on the government.”

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