Manipur speaker disqualifies Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar as member of Assembly

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had ordered his removal based on a disqualification petition filed by two Congress leaders.

GUWAHATI: Manipur Speaker Y Khemchand on Saturday disqualified the state’s Minister of Forest and Environment Thounaojam Shyamkumar as a member of the Assembly.

The Speaker’s Tribunal ordered that Shyamkumar would cease to be a member of the Assembly with immediate effect till the expiry of its current term which is March 28, 2022.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had ordered his removal based on a disqualification petition filed by two Congress leaders. The duo had argued that Shyamkumar had violated the provisions of Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Later on March 26, Shyamkumar had put in his papers to the Speaker.

After hearing both parties on Saturday, the Speaker ordered his disqualification.

“Having considered the rival submissions of the parties, the undisputed facts of the present cases and the citations of the Hon”ble Supreme Court of India, which are clearly applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present cases, it is established beyond doubt that the respondent (Shyamkumar) had voluntarily given up the membership of the Indian National Congress. Hence, this Tribunal came to the conclusion that the respondent had clearly violated the provision of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India and is liable to be punished as per the provision of the Constitution to uphold the dignity of democracy and the mandate of the people,” the order reads.

“I, therefore, hold that the respondent Shri Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, 7-Andro Assembly Constituency, Manipur had incurred disqualification for being a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly…The respondent, thus, ceases to be a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly with immediate effect from this date, i.e., 28-03-2020 till the expiry of the term of this assembly, i.e., 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur,” the order stated.

The Congress welcomed the Speaker’s order. “Nobody can go against our Indian Constitution. Protecting the Constitution is respecting democracy. I welcome the justice delivered by the Speaker but it is too late as it has already affected the democratic rights of the people,” Congress MLA, K Meghachandra, said.

Shyamkumar was elected in the 2017 elections on a Congress ticket. However, he switched to the BJP even before being sworn in as a Member of the House. After cobbling up the numbers, the BJP had formed a coalition government and Shyamkumar was inducted into the Cabinet of N Biren Singh.

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The New Indian Express