The Supreme Court today showed its displeasure at the continuous delay made by the Manipur Governor in taking a decision over the matter of disqualification of 12 MLAs of the Manipur Assembly for allegedly holding offices of profit in contravention of the law.
The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B. V. Nagarathna has asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into this matter and use his good offices to make sure that Manipur Governor La Ganesan passed an order in pursuance to the opinion given by the Election Commission in January 2021.
Justice Rao has further said that, according to Article 192 of the Constitution of India, the Governor has to make the final decision, however, even after 11 months nothing has happened. The Solicitor General assured the bench that he would do as required and submitted that no direction will be required in the next date of hearing.
On November 9, the Supreme Court had observed that the Manipur Governor cannot delay taking a decision on the opinion given by the Election Commission of India regarding the disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs of Manipur Assembly in the “office of profit” issue.
The present writ petition has been filed by D.D. Thaisi, an MLA in the Manipur Assembly, stating that his fundamental right as an elector and citizen of the State of Manipur is violated by the long and inexplicable delay in disposing of the application submitted under Article 192 of the Constitution of India. The plea alleges that the Election Commission of India has failed to discharge its constitutional duty. The 12 MLAs were appointed as parliamentary secretaries for the State of Manipur, in exercise of powers under Section 3 of The Manipur Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salary and Allowance and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012.
The plea reads,
“Such appointments as Parliamentary Secretaries were made by the Chief Minister of Manipur, to subvert the provisions of Article 164 ( 1-A) of the Constitution of India. The offices titled as Parliamentary Secretary for the State of Manipur, are Offices of Profit, inasmuch as the said appointment elevated the 12 members of the Legislative Assemble of Manipur to the rank and status of Minister of State C (under Section 4 of the 2012 Act) and also entitled them to draw higher Salary and Allowances as are admissible to a Minister of State under The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Manipur) Act, 1972 (under Section 7 of the 2012 Act).”
The plea further reads: “During 2017, a Member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly was entitled to receive Rs 19,500 per month, apart from allowances under The Salaries and Allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly (Manipur) Act, 1972, as amended from time to time.”
“During the same time, under The Salaries and Allowances of the Ministers (Manipur) Act, 1972, as amended from time to time, a Minister of State of Manipur was entitled to receive Rs 26,000 per month apart from Sumptuary Allowances, free Residence and Conveyance Allowance. Therefore, the monetary benefit of the 12 members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries is doubtless and obvious. And that the 12 members of the Legislative Assembly, who were appointed and who accepted appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, thus, occupied Office of Profit and thus automatically incurred the disqualification under Sub-Clause (a) of Clause (1) of the Article 191 of the Constitution of India and they are not entitled to continue as Members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly and their seats have fallen vacant under Sub-Clause (a) of Clause (3) of Article 190 of the Constitution of India,”
-the plea said.
Case Name- D D Thaisi vs ECI, W.P. (C) No.- 151/2021