Jurists back online swearing in

As the demand for online swearing in of the new government gets louder, jurists say there is no legal infirmity in a government assuming office through online mode.

The Article 164 (3) of the Constitution states that “before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.” There is no ban on an online event as the Constitution does not insist on a physical mode, pointed out jurists.

Incidentally, online platforms are abuzz with discussions and campaigns for holding the event on a virtual platform. Several organisations, including the Indian Medical Association, have favoured the online mode in the wake of the alarming spread of COVID-19. The State government, which had earlier planned a public event, had announced its decision to cut down the number of invitees.

According to C.K. Abdul Rahim, former judge of the Kerala High Court, the Constitution speaks only about the Governor administering the oath of office and it has not been mentioned anywhere that the function shall be held in physical mode. There is no legal infirmity in holding the event online as the Constitution has not spelt out the manner in which it shall be held. Moreover, it has not prohibited any mode of event for the Ministers to assume the office, said Mr. Rahim.

S. Siri Jagan, another former judge of the Kerala High Court, too opined that there was nothing illegal in holding the event online. However, there cannot be any change in the form of the pledge, which was prescribed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution, said Mr. Jagan.

B.G. Harindranath, former Law Secretary, felt that the makers of the Constitution had not foreseen the advent of online world and hence there was no mention about the mode of Ministers assuming the office. Even the signatures of the Governor and the Ministers after the pledge could be made in digital form, he suggested.

K. Sudhakara Prasad, the Advocate General, who too was of the view that the online event would be a legally valid one, felt that conventionally, the swearing in was held in a physical mode. Sticking to the convention, Mr. Prasad suggested physical mode for the event.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 4:25:14 AM |

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