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How can a MLA sworn in as Minister resign from membership of Vidhan Sabha but continue to retain Ministership

BJP's Hisar Lok Sabha candidate Ranjit Chautala has only resigned as MLA but not as Minister

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Web Admin

Web Admin

5 Dariya News

Chandigarh , 01 Apr 2024

Haryana Cabinet Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala, who was sworn in as such last month on 12 March 2024 in Nayab Singh Saini led BJP's new dispensation in the State and  on 22 March was allocated portfolios of Energy and Jails formally joined the BJP on 24 March and within a short span of time, he got declared as saffron party's candidate from Hisar Parliamentary Constituency (P.C.).

Meanwhile, although it has been now a week since Ranjit Chautala, who was although elected as an Independent MLA from Rania Assembly Constituency (A.C.) in Sirsa district in Oct, 2019, reportedly submitted his resignation to the Haryana Assembly Speaker, Gian Chand Gupta, but it is yet to be accepted for reasons best known to the Speaker.

Meanwhile, Hemant Kumar, Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court while quoting Paragraph 2(2) of Tenth Schedule to Constitution of India (commonly known as Anti Defection Law),  told that it provides that an elected member of a House who has been elected as such otherwise than as a candidate set up by any political party (i.e. who is elected as an Independent) shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.

Thus, if an Independent MLA doesn't resign before joining any political party, then he entails disqualification from the membership of the House under aforementioned Para 2(2) of Anti-Defection Law. For this, an appropriate petition can be filed before the Speaker of the House for his disqualification  not only by any member of the current House (MLA) but even by any other common person too, asserts Hemant. 

Be that as it may, in view of the above, the resignation of Ranjit Chautala as MLA should be bearing the date of 24 March 2024 i.e. the day on which he formally joined BJP and it should also  be accepted from that very date by the Speaker.  As far as continuance of Ranjit Chautala as Cabinet Minister after his resignation as MLA ( which although it yet to be accepted by the Assembly Speaker) is concerned,  Hemant legally opines that since on 12 March, when Ranjit took Oath of Office & Secrecy as a Cabinet Minister, he was an MLA  of the current House i.e. 14th Haryana Vidhan Sabha and thus post his resignation as MLA, he can't continue as Minister uninterrupted for maximum six months  being non-MLA ( read under Article 164(4) of Constitution of India) since for such fresh innings/tenure as Minister, he would have to be administered fresh Oath of Office and Secrecy by the Governor. 

Even otherwise, the aforementioned six-months limit of being Minister as non-MLA would begin from 24 March i.e. the day Ranjit Chautala resigned from membership of current Haryana Vidhan Sabha. The Advocate reiterated that after he is not able to recall a  single instance either at the Centre or in any State , where any person has though resigned as MP or MLA but he continued  as Minister in the Union or State Council of Ministers respectively.

In support of his contention, Hemant also argued that supposedly if a MLA is declared disqualified from membership of a House under provisions of Anti-Defection Law or else his election as MLA itself is quashed or set aside, for whatever reasons, by High Court or Supreme Court and if such person is also a Minister in the State Govt, then such person would also have to resign as Minister from Council of Ministers since he is no more a MLA. 

If the Chief Minister still desires to retain such a person (who is then non-MLA), it can be done for maximum six months but only once during the tenure of State Assembly, but in that case he would have to be administered fresh Oath of Officer and Secrecy by the Governor. 

Pertinent that even the incumbent Chief Minister of Haryana, Nayab Singh Saini, is not a MLA as on today although he is scheduled to contest election for MLA from Karnal Assembly seat scheduled for next month i.e. 25 May 2024, the seat which has been vacated by the resignation of Manohar Lal Khattar, erstwhile Chief Minister of Haryana.

When asked if Ranjit Chautala, who is as of now BJP candidate from Hisar P.C. although after being administered fresh Oath of Office and Secrecy as Minister can   simultaneously continue as such in Haryana Govt, Hemant opines that though its against constitutional morality but nevertheless this remains a grey area.  He cited the case of five incumbent Ministers in Bhagwant Mann led AAP dispensation in Punjab who have been declared party candidates for upcoming Lok Sabha elections viz. 

Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal from Amritsar, Laljit  Singh Bhullar from Khadoor Sahib, Gurmeet Singh Khudian from Bathinda, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Sangrur and Dr. Balbir Singh from Patiala. All these five are still continuing as Ministers in Bhagwant Mann's Cabinet notwithstanding announcement of their candidature for Lok Sabha polls.

 

Tags: Hemant Kumar , Advocate Hemant Kumar , Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh , Chandigarh

 

 

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