Jharkhand Governor didn’t ask us for second opinion: EC to Soren

The Election Commission (EC) on Monday told Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren that the state’s Governor, Ramesh Bais, had not sought a second opinion from the poll panel in the office of profit charge against him, EC sources said.

Soren had written to the EC on October 31, asking whether Bais had sought a second opinion in the matter, and if so, he should be given a chance to respond, a top EC official said.

On October 26, Bais had said in a TV interview that he had asked for a “second opinion”, although he did not mention the EC. He had said that an “atom bomb” could go off any day in Jharkhand.

In its letter to Soren’s lawyer Vaibhav Tomar on Monday, the EC stated there was “no communication from the office of the Hon’ble Governor subsequent to the rendering of the opinion by the Commission”. The EC also referred to Article 192 of the Constitution, which states that the Governor “shall obtain” the EC’s opinion before taking a decision on disqualifying an MLA and “shall act according to such opinion”.

Bais had sent a representation to EC earlier this year, based on BJP’s complaint that Soren allegedly allocated a mining lease to himself while holding the Mines portfolio. After examining the charge and hearing both parties, the EC had sent its recommendation in the case to the Governor in August.

Bais is yet to make the decision public, leaving Soren’s membership of the Jharkhand Assembly hanging in the balance.

The Indian Express had reported on October 28 that EC had not received any representation from Bais for a second opinion in the matter. Former EC legal adviser S K Mendiratta had said that to his knowledge no Governor had ever sent back the EC’s opinion or asked for a second opinion, and that under the Constitution, only the poll panel could give an opinion.

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