Delhi HC reserves order on plea to disqualify arrested AAP Minister Satyendar Jain

AAP leader Satyendar Jain. File

AAP leader Satyendar Jain. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Delhi High Court on August 16 reserved its order on public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to declare AAP leader Satyendar Jain, arrested in a money laundering case, as a “person with unsound mind” and thus disqualify him from being a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and a minister.

“We will pass appropriate orders,” said a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad after hearing the petitioner who asserted that it has been seen before the trial court that Mr. Jain has “lost his memory” and therefore cannot be permitted to continue as a lawmaker.

The petitioner, Ashish Kumar Srivastava, claimed in his plea that Mr. Jain has “himself declared that he lost his memory” before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and informed the same to the trial court as well.

The petitioner told the court that ED is not an ordinary agency and any statement made to it is admissible in court and being a minister of State, the public may be affected if he has issued directions that he does not remember.

The plea, filed through lawyer Rudra Vikram Singh, has stated that in response to Mr. Jain's bail application before the trial court, the ED informed that the AAP leader has “accepted that he had lost his memory due to severe COVID” and “the news of losing the memory is covered by all media sources and it is very much in the public domain”

“Continuing an unsound person with so many important portfolios of the Government is cheating the voters of Delhi, who have elected a person with a clean image and good mental health. Respondent No 5 [Mr. Jain] is holding an important portfolio in Government and because of his mental illness/unsound mind/memory loss the public of the NCT of Delhi will suffer a lot,” the petition said.            

The petitioner thus asserted that in light of Article 191 (1)(b) of the Constitution clearly, which mandates that an MLA has to be disqualified if he is of “unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court, Mr. Jain cannot continue holding the important portfolio of a Delhi Cabinet Minister and enjoying the post of an MLA.

Last month, the high court dismissed a plea to suspend Mr. Jain from the Cabinet following his arrest in the money laundering case, saying it is for the chief minister to consider whether a person with a criminal background should be allowed to continue as a minister or not.

Mr. Jain was arrested on May 30 by ED under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is presently in judicial custody.

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Printable version | Aug 21, 2022 1:33:51 pm |