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Newly elected Sangrur Lok Sabha MP Meet Hayer can still be Minister in Bhagwant Mann's Cabinet for maximum six months after resigning as Barnala MLA

In neighbouring State of Haryana, Ranjeet Chautala who resigned as MLA and even lost Lok Sabha election from Hisar still continues as Cabinet Minister- Advocate Hemant Kumar

Hemant Kumar, Advocate Hemant Kumar, Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh, Chandigarh
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Chandigarh , 17 Jun 2024

On Friday 14 June, three sitting MLAs of current 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha viz. Amrinder Singh Raja Warring (Gidderbaha), Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa (Dera Baba Nanak)  & Dr. Raj Kumar (Chhabewal), who all have been elected members (MPs)  of newly constituted 18th Lok Sabha  from Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) of Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur  in the State of Punjab respectively resigned from the membership of State Assembly.

 The fourth MLA viz. Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who is also an incumbent Minister in Bhagwant Mann Cabinet, and who has been elected from Sangrur PC in recently concluded 18th Lok Sabha polls is yet to submit his resignation as MLA from Barnala Assembly Constituency (AC) which he is likely to do in next couple of days since a sitting MLA has to resign from membership of  State Legislative Assembly within fourteen days of his election  in case he want to remain as Member of Parliament (MP).

Pertinent that five Ministers from Bhagwant Mann's Ministry contested as AAP party candidates in recently concluded Lok Sabha elections from Punjab 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.  Of these except Meet Hayer, rest four lost the Parliamentary election.  

Noteworthy however, all  of these five  continued as Ministers in Bhagwant Mann's Cabinet whilst contesting  Lok Sabha polls. Meanwhile, Hemant Kumar, an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, told an interesting but significant legal (constitutional) point that newly elected Sangrur Lok Sabha MP, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, even after resigning as MLA from Barnala AC can still be a Minister in Bhagwant Mann's Cabinet for a maximum period of 6 months as a non-MLA although whilst remaining as Lok Sabha MP. 

He can When asked if Meet Hayer would also have to resign as Minister simultaneously while resigning as MLA, Hemant told that he may or may not. The Advocate cited the case of Ranjeet Chautala in neighboring State of Haryana, who although resigned as MLA from membership of current 14th Haryana Vidhan Sabha on 24 March this year after he formally joined BJP whilst being an Independent MLA but he hasn't till date resigned as Minister in incumbent Nayab Saini led BJP Government in Haryana. 

Ranjeet also contested Lok Sabha election on BJP ticket from Hisar PC in Haryana but he lost to Congress nominee Jai Prakash. However he still continues as Cabinet Minister in Haryana Government holding twin portfolios of Energy and Jails. Even he was not  administered fresh Oath of Office & Secrecy by the Governor  after 24 March 2024 i.e. after he resigned as MLA, which otherwise is essential since after ibid date, he is non-MLA  and his previous Oath of Office & Secrecy which was administered to him on 12 March 2024 whilst he was a MLA cannot be stretched  to include so as to continue as Minister even being non-MLA. 

Being a non-MLA, Ranjeet Chautala can remain as Minister till 23 September 2024. i.e. upto maximum six months after his resignation as MLA on 23 March 2024. Meanwhile, Hemant further told a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) can be appointed as Chief Minister(CM) or Minister in a State and there is no sort of constitutional or legal embargo (prohibition) in such appointment.

On 12 March this year, Nayab Singh Saini,  then sitting BJP MP from Kurukshetra Parliamentary Constituency (PC) in now dissolved 17th Lok Sabha  got appointed as Chief Minister of Haryana  replacing the erstwhile incumbent Manohar Lal Khattar. He didn't resigned as MP after being appointed as CM, Haryana and he continued as such till dissolution of 17th Lok Sabha on 5 June 2024. Of course on 4 June, Nayab Saini got elected as MLA from Karnal AC in a Bye-election. 

Hemant categorically asserted that  there is no legal prohibition for a sitting MP being appointed as Chief Minister or Minister in a State since  as per Constitution of India, the Office of Profit concept is only applicable  in case of  being chosen as and for being a member of either House of Parliament and/or of State Legislature. It not all applies in case of the appointment of a sitting MP as the Chief Minister or Minister in a State. 

Furthermore, even the post of Chief Minister or Minister is not an Office of Profit as it has been excluded under Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959. Pertinent that as per Article 102 of Constitution of India, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament  if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder. 

Hence, even after being appointed as Chief Minister or Minister in a State, there is no question of being disqualification of a sitting MP. Hemant  told that a non-legislator can however continue as CM or Minister in a State  till maximum six months only  as per Article 164(4) of Constitution of India.

 

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

 

 

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