THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala's State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday told the state's Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena that he is not the competent authority to recommend the disqualification of an elected local body member.
After conducting detailed probes about reports of bogus voting that took place at a polling booth in Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency, Meena, on April 29, concluded that three women, including CPM local body member NP Saleena was been found guilty and she has to resign her post and face a police probe.
But on Monday, the SEC, in a release, maintained that the authority to disqualify an elected member vests with it. "The rule states that an elected member will be disqualified if he/she has been convicted by a court. Moreover, the SEC, suo moto, cannot take action against an elected member and the CEO is also not a designated person who can initiate such an action to recommend to the SEC to take action," it said in the statement.
The designated people who can recommend the SEC disqualify an elected member includes a voter in the village council of the member concerned, the secretary of the village council concerned or any official designated by the state government, it said, adding that the CEO was not on this list. "Since Saleena has not been convicted by a court and since the CEO is not a designated official to recommend disqualification, no action can be taken against this elected member," the SEC said.
The development comes at a time when the CPM-led government's top brass attacked Meena for being partisan and last week the CPM's state secretariat, which includes Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, decided to ask the party's national leadership to take legal steps against him.