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Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's Possible Disqualification: Who Takes the Final Call?

Jharkhand's Chief Minister Hemant Soren said that no communication in this regard has been received by him.

Updated
Politics
3 min read
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's Possible Disqualification: Who Takes the Final Call?
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A new political row has erupted in Jharkhand, with Chief Minister Hemant Soren facing a crisis, after the Election Commission of India (ECI) sent its report to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais, recommending his disqualification as an MLA.

However, Soren, on Thursday, 25 August, claimed that no communication had been received by him in this regard.

"It apparently seems that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders including a BJP MP and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the ECI report, which is otherwise a sealed cover report," the CMO's statement read.

If he is disqualified, he could lose his chief ministerial post, further landing the JMM-led coalition government in troubled waters.

Amid rapid developments since the beginning of the week, here's a lowdown on the Jharkhand CM's situation.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's Possible Disqualification: Who Takes the Final Call?

  1. 1. WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR?

    A petition was filed in February this year by Shiv Shankar Sharma which stated that the high court was approached for an "appropriate direction to prosecute the chief minister (Hemant Soren)," as he "misused" his office in getting the mining lease in his own name.

    During the hearing on 8 April, Advocate General Rajiv Ranjan said that the state had committed “a mistake” in granting the lease. The AG added that it was a “violation of Code of Conduct.”

    However, he added that even if Soren was engaged in certain businesses while he was holding the office as the minister for mines, there was no statutory or constitutional violation.

    He also said that CM surrendered the lease on 11 February 2022.

    Expand
  2. 2. WHAT IS THE BJP'S ROLE?

    Following this, a group of leaders from the opposition BJP approached the governor and sought Soren’s disqualification for granting the lease to himself. The governor then wrote to the ECI under Article 192 of the Constitution for its opinion.

    The law states that the governor is bound by the EC's opinion, as the latter serves as a quasi-judicial body in such matters.

    The BJP have also sought Soren's disqualification for violating section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.

    After the EC concluded hearings on Monday, it sent its opinion to Governor Ramesh Bais. Meanwhile, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey on Thursday claimed that the letter from the EC has reached Raj Bhavan.

    Slamming the Soren-led government, BJP leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said:

    "Jharkhand had chosen Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) with a lot of hope and trust but ever since they came to power, they started looting the state's natural resources."

    "If someone's responsible for what's happening today, it's the Soren government itself. It's in trouble due to its own misdeeds," he added.

    Expand
  3. 3. WHO TAKES THE FINAL CALL?

    Under Article 192 of the Constitution, if any question arises as to whether a member of the state legislature has become subject to any of the disqualifications, the question shall be referred to the governor whose decision shall be final.

    In this case, the governor had referred the decision to Election Commission and received its opinion on Thursday morning.

    If the Election Commission disqualifies Soren, then the CM’s first option is to go to the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s move.

    If the Election Commission does not ban Hemant Soren from contesting the election, the other option may be that he will have to take a fresh oath and re-form the Cabinet, after which he will have to win Assembly election set to take place in the next six months.

    But even if there is a ban on contesting elections, Hemant Soren’s option to save and maintain the government lies with his wife and mother. So if Hemant Soren’s MLA position is taken away immediately, he can make either his mother Rupi Soren and wife Kalpana Soren the chief minister. For this option, Hemant Soren will have to reconcile with the Congress.

    Expand
  4. 4. WHAT DID THE ELECTION COMMISSION SAY?

    The EC held hearings last week and sent its opinion to governor's residence Raj Bhawan on Monday. Neither the ECI nor the governor have revealed anything about the report.

    “I do not know anything as of now about any order for me. I had gone to AIIMS for treatment, I can only say anything after I reach Raj Bhawan,” Governor Ramesh Bais told reporters.

    Thus, the decision is dependent on the contents of the 'sealed document' received by the governor, who will be announcing the decision on Friday.

    Expand
  5. 5. ARE THE BJP'S CELEBRATIONS PREMATURE?

    While the governor's announcement is awaited, the BJP has already considered Soren disqualified. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said his party "wants a mid-term poll."

    "The Assembly should be dissolved and there should be elections in all 81 assembly constituencies. The BJP has been demanding this,” Dubey said.

    Now, all eyes are on the governor's announcement scheduled for Friday, to see if Soren's government gets out of this pickle or loses the reigns in Jharkhand.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR?

A petition was filed in February this year by Shiv Shankar Sharma which stated that the high court was approached for an "appropriate direction to prosecute the chief minister (Hemant Soren)," as he "misused" his office in getting the mining lease in his own name.

During the hearing on 8 April, Advocate General Rajiv Ranjan said that the state had committed “a mistake” in granting the lease. The AG added that it was a “violation of Code of Conduct.”

However, he added that even if Soren was engaged in certain businesses while he was holding the office as the minister for mines, there was no statutory or constitutional violation.

He also said that CM surrendered the lease on 11 February 2022.

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WHAT IS THE BJP'S ROLE?

Following this, a group of leaders from the opposition BJP approached the governor and sought Soren’s disqualification for granting the lease to himself. The governor then wrote to the ECI under Article 192 of the Constitution for its opinion.

The law states that the governor is bound by the EC's opinion, as the latter serves as a quasi-judicial body in such matters.

The BJP have also sought Soren's disqualification for violating section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.

After the EC concluded hearings on Monday, it sent its opinion to Governor Ramesh Bais. Meanwhile, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey on Thursday claimed that the letter from the EC has reached Raj Bhavan.

Slamming the Soren-led government, BJP leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said:

"Jharkhand had chosen Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) with a lot of hope and trust but ever since they came to power, they started looting the state's natural resources."

"If someone's responsible for what's happening today, it's the Soren government itself. It's in trouble due to its own misdeeds," he added.

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WHO TAKES THE FINAL CALL?

Under Article 192 of the Constitution, if any question arises as to whether a member of the state legislature has become subject to any of the disqualifications, the question shall be referred to the governor whose decision shall be final.

In this case, the governor had referred the decision to Election Commission and received its opinion on Thursday morning.

If the Election Commission disqualifies Soren, then the CM’s first option is to go to the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s move.

If the Election Commission does not ban Hemant Soren from contesting the election, the other option may be that he will have to take a fresh oath and re-form the Cabinet, after which he will have to win Assembly election set to take place in the next six months.

But even if there is a ban on contesting elections, Hemant Soren’s option to save and maintain the government lies with his wife and mother. So if Hemant Soren’s MLA position is taken away immediately, he can make either his mother Rupi Soren and wife Kalpana Soren the chief minister. For this option, Hemant Soren will have to reconcile with the Congress.

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WHAT DID THE ELECTION COMMISSION SAY?

The EC held hearings last week and sent its opinion to governor's residence Raj Bhawan on Monday. Neither the ECI nor the governor have revealed anything about the report.

“I do not know anything as of now about any order for me. I had gone to AIIMS for treatment, I can only say anything after I reach Raj Bhawan,” Governor Ramesh Bais told reporters.

Thus, the decision is dependent on the contents of the 'sealed document' received by the governor, who will be announcing the decision on Friday.

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ARE THE BJP'S CELEBRATIONS PREMATURE?

While the governor's announcement is awaited, the BJP has already considered Soren disqualified. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said his party "wants a mid-term poll."

"The Assembly should be dissolved and there should be elections in all 81 assembly constituencies. The BJP has been demanding this,” Dubey said.

Now, all eyes are on the governor's announcement scheduled for Friday, to see if Soren's government gets out of this pickle or loses the reigns in Jharkhand.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Topics:  BJP   Congress   Election Comission 

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Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad
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