The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to suspend Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain from the Cabinet following his arrest in a money laundering case, saying it was for the Chief Minister to consider whether a person charged with such offences should be allowed to continue as a Minister.
Within hours of the High Court’s observation, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the alleged money laundering case against Mr. Jain, filed a chargesheet before a trial court here.
The trial court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 29.
The High Court’s judgment came on a petition by former BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg seeking a direction to the Lieutenant-Governor to initiate proceedings to suspend Mr. Jain, who is in custody since May 30.
The petitioner had earlier said that Mr. Jain was arrested over his alleged involvement in hawala transactions in 2015-2016 with a Kolkata-based firm. As Mr. Jain is a public servant sworn to a constitutional oath to uphold the rule of law in the interest of the public, the petitioner argued that the AAP leader could not be permitted to hold his office as a Minister as he had committed a breach of his constitutional oath.
‘Not in Constitution’
A Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said whether a breach of oath fulfils a ground for disqualification of a Minister is not mentioned in Article 164 (1) of the Constitution.
“The Council of Ministers has a collective responsibility to sustain and uphold the integrity of the Constitution of India and it is for the Chief Minister to act in the best interest of the State and consider whether a person who has a criminal background and/or has been charged with offences involving moral turpitude should be appointed and should be allowed to continue as a Minister or not,” a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
(With inputs from PTI)