Explained: What happens if a CM is disqualified as MLA
Amid speculation of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren being disqualified as an MLA, here we explain what happens if a chief minister is disqualified as an MLA?
The Election Commission, in its report to Jharkhand governor Ramesh Bais, has recommended the disqualification of chief minister Hemant Soren from the 81-member assembly after it found him guilty of holding the office of profit.
His father Shibu Soren was also, incidentally, held guilty of the office of profit in 2002.
Former Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das, of the BJP, had raised the matter accusing Soren of "misusing his post" to get "in-principle approval" for a stone quarrying lease in his name in Ranchi while holding the mining portfolio.
What happens now?
Article 192 of the Constitution deals with the office of profit and says the final decision rests with the governor, who is bound by the opinion of EC, a quasi-judicial body in the case.
This puts Soren’s continuance as CM only a matter of days if not hours.
What happens if he is disqualified?
If Soren is disqualified, the JMM-Congress-RJD government falls in Jharkhand. Soren will cease to be an MLA. Technically, Soren can take oath again and stay as CM for next six months during which he can contest a by-election and get re-elected.
What is the likelihood of another CM?
It is unlikely that JMM would agree to replace Soren with someone else as CM.
JMM is the largest constituent in the ruling coalition. To JMM’s 30, Congress has 16 MLAs in the 81-member assembly. Principal opposition party, BJP, has 25 MLAs.
What does the law say?
The BJP petitioned to the Jharkhand governor seeking Soren’s disqualification for violating Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The law disqualifies a government member for awarding contracts in conflict of interests.
Soren alleged that the EC report was “drafted” by the BJP, which has “captured” the democratic institutions.