Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that his government “welcomes” the High Court of Manipur “verdict of electing” M. Rameshwar as the MLA of Kakching assembly constituency by declaring Y. Surchandra’s election as ‘null and void’. He was speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of M. Rameshwar at Manipur Legislative Assembly complex on Monday.
On November 5, 2020, the High Court of Manipur declared the election of Y Surchandra from the Kakching assembly constituency in the 2017 assembly elections as ‘null and void’ on grounds of “false information” on his financial assets and properties in his election affidavit.
Interestingly, Y Surchandra was disqualified a few months ago from being a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly under 10th Schedule of Indian Constitution, popularly known as Anti-Defection Law.
Justice MV Muralidaran cancelled Y Surchandra’s election in an order passed in a petition filed by M Romeshwar.
On Monday, Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker, Y. Khemchand administered the oath to M. Rameshwar in the presence of the Chief Minister, ministers, MPs and MLAs.
Meanwhile, N Biren Singh said that in a democracy, Legislature, Judiciary and Executive have separate functions and powers. “In the election petition case filed by M. Rameshwar as well, the Judiciary has rightly exercised its own power, and the Government respects it,” Biren also stated. Responding to a query, the Chief Minister expressed confidence that his party would register wins in all the assembly segments where by-elections were held on November 7, 2020. “All these new political developments would strengthen the stability of the present government”, he said.
The Chief Minister then appreciated the “people of the State for their unstinting support” to the government.
About the bandh called by some organizations regarding the selection of site for the construction of Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum, the Chief Minister clarified that it is a Central Government funded project, and it is not specifically mentioned in the project details to name the museum after Rani Gaidinliu or construct it in her native village. “However, the State Government has no problem to name the museum after her or construct in her native village if the people want it and the Central Government permits the same. As such, the State Government is communicating with the Central Government in this regard”, the Chief Minister said. He also said that the State Government has invited the concerned organizations for talks so that the bandh is suspended at the earliest.
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, newly sworn-in MLA Rameshwar said that his priority is to actualize and implement the vision of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh i.e. ‘Go to Village’, ‘Go to Hills’ and ‘School Fagathansi’ because these three missions were unheard of in any part of the country earlier. As such, these are being replicated by different States now, he added. Regarding the recent High Court ruling, he said, “It is a justified landmark decision. My faith in the judicial system has further enhanced after the decision.”
It can be recalled here that Rameshwar, who was the runner up in the election in 2017, had challenged the Congress candidate’s victory by a slender margin of 530 votes.
After 20 hearings, the court agreed with the petitioner’s arguments that Surchandra had failed to disclose vital material information in his affidavit pertaining to his financial asset and property.