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Last Updated: 31st March, 2022 22:53 IST

Sikkim CM’s 6 year disqualification reduced: Supreme court seeks response

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea challenging the Poll Panel’s decision to reduce the 6 years disqualification period of

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea challenging the Poll Panel’s decision to reduce the 6 years disqualification period of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, convicted in a graft case to just 13 Months.

A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Krishna Murari issued notices to the EC, Centre, Sikkim government and CM Prem Singh Tamang on a petition filed by the opposition Sikkim Democratic Front seeking responses within six weeks.

SDF, through senior advocate GV Rao, argued that because of the EC’s unusual favour shown to Tamang by reducing his statutory disqualification period of six years to just one year and one month, which was in disregard of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and a series of judgments from the SC for decriminalising politics, Tamang could continue as the CM.

The petitioner, SDF’s vice-president JB Darnal, said in December 2016, Tamang was convicted for corruption charges under the PC Act and sentenced to one year and one month with a fine of Rs 10,000. His appeals against conviction and sentence were rejected by both HC and the Supreme Court.

This means the provisions of Section 8A of the RP Act should have barred Tamang from contesting polls for six years from the date of release from prison after serving the sentence. Tamang was released from jail in August 2018.

However, he was allowed to contest polls to the Sikkim assembly on the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha ticket in 2019. Rao said the EC order of September 20, 2019, reducing the period of disqualification from six years to the period of sentence undergone was in gross violation of the RP Act as well as SC judgments.

Appearing for the Sikkim CM, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said SDF has filed a petition against Tamang in Delhi HC and it could not be permitted to file a similar petition in the apex court.

First Published: 22nd March, 2022 19:01 IST

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