Not a one stop solution for every problem in the country, says SC

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a plea filed by BJP leader Okram Henry Singh seeking direction to the Election Commission to hold the pending bypoll for Manipur’s Wangkhei Assembly constituency.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “We are not a one stop solution for every problem in the country.”

The bench told senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Singh, to move the High Court in the matter. Rohatgi submitted that more than six months have elapsed since his client had resigned as an MLA from the constituency, yet the Election Commission has not conducted the bypoll. However, as the bench insisted the petitioner should the move the High Court. After a brief hearing in the matter, Rohatgi agreed to withdraw the plea.

The top court, in its order, said: “Mukul Rohtagi, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioner, prays for withdrawal of this petition with liberty to approach the High Court. Prayer is allowed. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn with the liberty aforesaid.”

Singh had contended that he was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly from Wangkhei constituency in March 2017 on a Congress ticket. But he resigned and joined another political party in August 2020, due to ideological differences and sought that elections should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of Section 151 A of the Representation of the People Act. According to Singh’s plea, his resignation was accepted on August 11 last year.

Singh said he was appointed as a Cabinet minister on September 24, 2020, therefore he cannot continue as a minister beyond 6 months from this date, since he is not a member of the Assembly. He had also sought a relaxation of the 6-month condition mentioned in Article 164 (4) from continuing as a minister, against the backdrop of the situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic.

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