Plea against EC order on Sikkim CM disqualification

Prem Singh Tamang  

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on a petition challenging the poll panel’s decision to reduce the disqualification period of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang from six years to 13 months. Mr Tamang was convicted in a graft case.

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar also sought the stand of the State government and Mr. Tamang on the petition filed by General Secretary of the Sikkim Democratic Front Dek Bahadur Katwal.

Mr. Katwal, in his plea, contended that Section 11 of the Representation of People (RP) Act was unconstitutional as it provides arbitrary powers to the EC to remove or reduce the disqualification period. The plea stated that Mr. Tamang was convicted for misappropriation of public funds.

He was then sentenced to one year imprisonment in December 2016 by a Sikkim Court. Mr. Tamang was released in August last year after serving one year in jail.

Mr Katwal argued that after his release, Mr. Tamang stood disqualified from contesting elections for a period of six years, as per the RP Act. 

Later in the April 2019 Assembly Elections, Mr. Tamang’s party, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), emerged victorious, with 17 seats in the 32-member Assembly.

“On May 25, 2019, despite the Respondent No. 4's (Mr Tamang) disqualification under RP Act, 1951, the Governor of the State of Sikkim invited the Respondent No. 4 to form the Government, being the leader of the single largest party,” the plea said.

Since Mr. Tamang was did not contest the elections, the petition stated that he would have to contest and win an election within six months after being sworn-in as the Chief Minister. The petition said the poll panel had passed the direction reducing Mr. Tamang’s period of disqualification by four years 11 months from 6 years, just a day before the last date for filing nominations.

Challenging the EC’s order, the plea said it was “wholly erroneous, based on perverse reasoning and is bad in law:”. The case was posted for December 24.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:42:49 PM |

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