Politicians must learn lessons from law

The Manipur High Court has passed several landmark judgments, but majority of politicians in the state lack legal knowledge


Manipur High Court (PHOTO: IFP)

 

POLITICIANS of Manipur, including intending candidates, should learn lessons from laws. Majority of the politicians of the state lack legal knowledge. We have come across several politics-related incidents which are frequently intervened by laws. And, some political leaders of Manipur seldom violated the provision of laws. As a consequence, the law of the land had ceased their MLA ship or MP ship.

It may be recalled that some MLAs of Manipur had been disqualified by the state high court and the Supreme Court of India. On April 15, 2021, the Manipur High Court after holding several hearings announced that the election winner O Henry Singh, Congress candidate from Wangkhei Assembly constituency, in the 11th Manipur legislative assembly election 2017 as null and void as he violated the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act 1951.

It is evident that O Henry Singh mentioned wrong information in his nomination files of the 2017 election. He did not mention the CBI case regarding drugs seizure from Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in his affidavit of the election. Besides, he mentioned wrong educational qualifications in the affidavit. The Manipur High Court further announced that Y Erabot Singh, the BJP candidate who stood in the second position, will be the new MLA of Wangkhei Assembly constituency.

As per law, Y Erabot Singh was sworn in as MLA of Wangkhei assembly constituency by the speaker of Manipur legislative assembly Y Khemchand Singh on April 21 at Assembly Secretariat, Imphal. Henceforth, Erabot Singh will be the MLA of Wangkhei assembly constituency for the remaining months of the term. It will be a landmark judgment of high court of Manipur. We should appreciate the verdict of the high court. It is noteworthy that former minister Y Erabot Singh made an election petition to the high court of Manipur against O Henry Singh as the later violated the provisions of Representation of People’s Act 1951 in his election nomination file of the 11th Manipur legislative assembly election 2017.

The present N Biren Singh government of Manipur vacated two ministers. It is, therefore, questionable that will Erabot be inducted in the council of ministers of N Biren Singh government. People ask this.

In the 60-member Assembly of Manipur, now BJP has 25 MLA, Congress has 17 MLA, NPF has four MLA, NPP has four MLA, LJP has one MLA, TMC has one MLA, others three MLA and five seats are vacant. 

It may be recalled that last year, the Manipur High Court had announced that the election winning of Y Surchandra Singh, Congress candidate from Kakching assembly constituency in the last 11th Manipur legislative assembly election 2017 was null and void as he violated the provisions of Representation of People’s Act 1951.

The court further directed that the BJP candidate M Rameshor Singh who stood second position in the election will be the new MLA of Kakching assembly constituency instead of Y Surchandra Singh. Subsequently, the Manipur speaker sworn in M Rameshor Singh as MLA of Kakching. This is another landmark judgment of the high court.

The same court disqualified M Prithiviraj Singh MLA Moirang assembly constituency, a Congress candidate who won in the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly election 2012 as he violated the provisions of Representation of People’s Act 1951. He furnished incorrect educational qualifications in his nomination file of election 2012. Another landmark verdict of the Supreme Court of India is that Th Shyamkumar Singh, MLA of Andro assembly constituency was disqualified last year. The apex court ceased his ministry from the government of Manipur.

Meanwhile, Irendra Leichombam convenor of People’s Resurgent and Justice Alliance, who fought the last assembly election at Thangmeiband Kendra had been detained under NSA for misuse of social media platform. He had been detained under NSA by an order of district magistrate Imphal West on 17 May. There is a pending case in the Supreme Court of India regarding the disqualification of 12 parliamentary secretaries of the present government of Manipur. DD Thaisi Congress MLA had filed a civil writ petition in the Supreme Court of India demanding disqualification of 12 MLA s of Manipur as they held the office of profit. The 12 parliamentary secretaries are L Sushildro, N Indrajit, L Rameshor, Th Satyabarta, H Dingo, Dr S Rajan, S Subhaschandra, K Robindro, K Leishio, Khasim Bashum, Awangbou Newmai and Md Ashabuddin. S Subhaschandra had resigned the post and Speaker Y Khemchand announced that his seat was vacant.

Mrs Jayalalita Devi of Tamil Nadu who was the supremo of AIADMK and Mr Laluprasad Jadav of Bihar who was the supremo of RJD are worth mentioning national political leaders who had been punished by laws for their offense. They did not escape from the laws.

‌The Manipur High Court recently dismissed three different writ petitions filed by three disqualified Congress MLA s against the disqualification decision taken by the Speaker of Manipur legislative Assembly. The writ petitions filed by Ksh Biren Singh of Lamlai, S Bira Singh of Kumbi and Y Surchandra Singh of Kakching  Assembly constituencies mentioning Manipur legislative assembly speaker, secretary and others as respondents were heard by the high court justices L Jamir and A Bimol via video conferencing. After listening to the arguments of both sides, the court said that the decision of the speaker to disqualify the three petitioners based on their conduct is justified, which should be accepted by the petitioners. Based on the findings of the case, the speaker passed the order under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution and as such cannot be intervened by the court. Thus the writ petitions were dismissed as they hold no merit.

It may be mentioned that the speaker of Manipur legislative assembly had disqualified the aforementioned MLA s in June 2020 on defection grounds.

Apart from Manipur, regarding a bribery case, two ministers of West Bengal government along with two leaders of Trinamool Congress have been arrested following an interim order of the Kolkata High Court on May 17, 2021. The two ministers are Subrata Mukherjee, right hand of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Firhat Hakeem. The other two leaders are Madan Mitra MLA and Sobhan Chatterjee. Earlier they were formally arrested by the CBI regarding a bribery case and later, they were granted bail by the CBI court. This shows that the law exists across the country.

One noteworthy event in Maharashtra is that the Bombay High Court in a judgment announced on June 8 cancelled the fake schedule cast certificate of Amrabati MP Nabanid Kaur Rana. The apex court fined her a sum of Rs 2 lakh which is to be paid within two weeks for her offense. The court charged the MP that she got the fake certificate by hook or by crook even though she belongs to an upper class family. She was born to an upper class family and then married to a rich family. She was an eminent Telegu film actor and turned to politician. She is not eligible for the cast certificate. But she knowingly got a fake certificate that is illegal. She had furnished the fake certificate along with her election affidavit of Lok Sabha election 2019. She won the Amrabati Lok Sabha seat as an independent candidate. Consequent upon this, disqualification is to be processed after the ECI recommendation.

It may be mentioned that Shiv Sena leader and former MP  of Amrabati,  Anand Rao Adasur who got defeated in the hands of Nabanit Kaur Rana in the last MP election in 2019 filed an election petition to the apex court seeking appropriate action against the lady MP. This is another landmark judgment of high court which is to be appreciated.

From the aforementioned points, one can understand that nobody is above the law. My humble appeal is that all politicians should learn lessons from the laws.

(The views expressed are the writer’s own)

First Published:June 12, 2021, 3:47 p.m.

Leave a comment