Have sought copy from EC of guv's request for second opinion in office-of-profit case: Jharkhand CM

The request comes in the wake of Ramesh Bais saying on October 27 that he has sought a "second opinion" in the case and claiming that an "atom bomb could explode any time in Jharkhand", apparently indicating his pending decision in the matter

November 07, 2022 01:55 am | Updated 01:55 am IST - Ranchi

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid a deepening political crisis in Jharkhand, Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Sunday said he has through his counsel sought a copy from the Election Commission (EC) of Governor Ramesh Bais's request for a "second opinion" in an office-of-profit case.

The request comes in the wake of Mr. Bais saying on October 27 that he has sought a "second opinion" in the case and claiming that an "atom bomb could explode any time in Jharkhand", apparently indicating his pending decision in the matter.

"I have sought a copy from the EC of Governor Ramesh Bais's request for a second opinion in the office-of-profit case through my counsel," Mr. Soren told PTI.

"The council has placed on my behalf that the EC will provide an opportunity for a fair and effective hearing before giving any opinion pursuant to the second request made by the governor," the MLA from Barhait said.

Following a petition by the BJP seeking Mr. Soren's disqualification from the assembly in the office-of-profit case, the EC had sent its decision to the governor on August 25, triggering a political crisis in the state.

Though the EC's decision has not yet been made official, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister's disqualification as an MLA in connection with the mining lease.

The Supreme Court on Monday is likely to pronounce its judgment on the special leave petition filed by the Chief Minister Mr. Soren challenging the maintainability of a PIL related to the mining lease filed in the Jharkhand High Court earlier this year.

Mr. Soren's counsel Vaibhav Tomar in the letter to the EC has said that "it transpires from communications received from you and statements made by the governor that you have tendered your opinion in the reference case 3(G) of 2022 (Bharatiya Janata Party vs. Hemant Soren) to the governor on August 25, 2022".

The governor has not communicated his decision in the reference, although more than two months have elapsed since the commission tendered its opinion under Article 192(2) of the Constitution, he said.

"The commission has further wrongfully declined to furnish a copy of its opinion in the reference case 3(G) of 2022 to my client (Soren)," Mr. Tomar said.

"My client has now come to learn from media reports that recently, the governor in a press interview given to the electronic and print media on October 27, 2022, disclosed that the governor has sought a second opinion from the Election Commission of India, which is pending before the Commission," the chief minister's counsel said.

The counsel's letter said the governor's interview was widely reported in the press. However, "my client has not received any notice from the commission in this regard", it said.

Tomar has requested for a copy of the request for opinion received by EC from the governor.

"My client expects that the Election Commission, being a body constituted by the Constitution of India, shall not tender any opinion pursuant to the second request made by the governor without affording him a fair and effective hearing," he said.

In September, Soren's counsels had sought from the EC a copy of its letter sent to Governor Bais, carrying its opinion on the JMM leader's office-of-profit case.

The issue was referred to the governor and by him to the EC, as Article 192 of the Constitution states that on rulings regarding an MLA's disqualification, the question shall be referred to the governor who in turn "shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion".

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