The Election Commission of India (ECI) has proposed the disqualification of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA in the state Assembly, media reports said on Thursday. The Indian Express had confirmed in a report earlier today that the poll panel has sent its opinion to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais pertaining to Soren’s disqualification as an MLA for violating electoral law by extending a mining lease to himself.
Bias had sought the EC’s opinion after state BJP members filed a complaint seeking the CM’s disqualification. They allege that Soren had misused his position as the mining and forest minister of the state by allotting himself a stone mining lease. Amid reports of the EC recommending his disqualification from the Assembly, Hemant Soren has said that he has received no communication on the matter so far.
According to the IE report, the Commission’s opinion was dispatched by the morning flight and sent to the Jharkhand Raj Bhavan in a sealed cover this morning, and would be notified by the Governor whenever he deems it right.
The BJP, the petitioner in the case, has sought Soren’s disqualification for violating section 9A (disqualification for government contracts) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, PTI reported.
The BJP had alleged that Soren, while holding the charge of the state mining department, had allotted a stone chips mining lease to himself in 2021 flouting the office of profit norms. He had also allotted to his political advisor Pankaj Mishra, and press advisor Abhishek Prasad, the party further claimed.
The poll watchdog had issued a notice to Soren then.
The BJP has also made a representation to the Governor, who forwarded it to the EC under Article 192 of the Constitution. Under Article 192 of the Constitution, if any question arises as to whether a member of a House of the Legislature of a state has become subject to any of the disqualifications, the question shall be referred to the Governor whose decision shall be final.
The poll panel acts as a quasi-judicial body while dealing in such cases.