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MPs’ Appointment as CMs
SC reserves verdict
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 11
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on an important question of law pertaining to the constitutional validity of appointing a person as chief minister who is an MP but not contested the Assembly elections. In this context, the case of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was cited as the latest example.

While reserving its verdict, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P.P. Naolekar said the apex court had earlier decided that an MP who is appointed as a chief minister if gave up his or her membership of Parliament within 14 days, such appointment was valid.

But the court would give its verdict on expanded questions of law raised by the petitioner, the Bench said.

A public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Ashok Pandey has raised the constitutional question on the appointment of a chief minister in such circumstances and in the wake of it he questioned the validity of the appointment of Mayawati as Chief Minister.

The petitioner said: “There is no express provision in Article 164 (4) of the Constitution that deals with the appointment of a chief minister regarding the protection of his or her membership of Parliament for six months, the maximum time required for being elected to the Assembly.

Therefore, an MP who wished to become a chief minister should first resign from Parliament.”

Pandey contended that if a chief minister continued with his membership of Parliament simultaneously, it would attract the provisions of the office of profit as laid down in the Constitution as such person would be drawing the monetary benefits from Parliament.

“In that case the chief minister’s appointment becomes illegal,” he argued.

He also said the continuation of membership of Parliament by a chief minister had also been “misused” for political purposes in the past and in this context he cited the example of former Orissa Chief Minister Giridhar Gomang.

Gomang was called to cast vote by the Congress during the 1999 trust motion by the Vajpayee government, which lost power on the strength of his “single vote”.

He said not only an important question of law was involved in the matter, but it also dealt with the constitutional propriety that a person appointed chief minister in such circumstances should continue to hold his membership of Parliament till elected to the state Assembly.

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