Restrain Governor from acting on EC letter: Hemant Soren to HC

Ranchi : Chief Minister Hemant Soren has filed a petition in the Jharkhand High Court, seeking to “restrain” Governor Ramesh Bais from acting on an Election Commission letter yet to be made public. Soren had earlier said that his act of obtaining a mining lease does not entail his disqualification as MLA.

Filing the petition in his “personal capacity”, through lawyer Piyush Chitresh, Soren said the Governor’s recent comment in Raipur “on seeking a second opinion” has created a “political vacuum and confusion” in the state.

Chitresh told that “The petition has been filed to restrain the Governor from acting on the EC’s recommendation. The reason is that the Governor in Raipur said he sought a second opinion on this. He also used words like ‘atom bomb’ will blast in Ranchi post Diwali. However, when we wrote to the EC, they said no such order has been sent from the Governor’s office. We also filed an RTI, but to no avail. The entire scheme of things has created a political vacuum in the matter. We have also made the EC a party to it.”
In February this year, former Chief Minister Raghubar Das made public, along with documents, that Soren was allotted a stone mining lease in Ranchi district, while being the minister in charge of mining. BJP leaders submitted a petition to the Governor, seeking an inquiry from the EC.

The Governor then sought the EC’s view on the matter. On August 25, the EC sent a letter to the Governor – the CM said it has not been shared with him till date.

Earlier, in May, Soren submitted an affidavit in court stating that merely the act of obtaining a mine lease “does not entail” his “disqualification as an MLA”. He also said the PIL filed in February was a bid to “destabilise the democratically elected government”.
The petitioner, Shiv Shankar Sharma, had urged the High Court for “appropriate direction to prosecute the Chief Minister”, saying Soren had “misused his office” in obtaining a mining lease in his own name.

On November 7, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s orders holding two PILs, seeking a probe against the Chief Minister, as maintainable.

The Supreme Court said petitioner Sharma had not approached the High Court with clean hands because he had failed to disclose that a “similar petition” was filed in 2013 which was later dismissed by the High Court and the top court.