The Covid-19 outbreak has created troubles for the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s election to the state legislature. While the state cabinet has passed a resolution asking governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to nominate Thackeray from his quota to the Legislative Council, the CM will get only about two months’ tenure to Upper House as the term of the two vacant seats from the quota ends on June 6.
Notably, elections to the Council have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thackeray, who took over the reins of the state on November 28, is not a member of either Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly, and has six months to get elected to either of the House. The CM’s six-month period ends on May 28, and if he is not nominated or elected during this time, not just him but the entire cabinet would have to resign.
“Uddhav Thackeray will not get full term of six years. He will be able to get only remainder term as an MLC and term of that particular seat is ending on June 6. He will have to be re-nominated by the Governor to continue to work as the CM,” said a senior official from the state legislature.
Given the uncertainty due to the outbreak, the question is what will happen after June 6 when Thackeray’s term as a potential MLC ends. If the governor re-nominates him to the Upper House, all may be well. But, there could be a legal tangle over whether a person can be reappointed as a minister without being elected to any House.
A Supreme Court judgment issued on August 17, 2001 has termed such re-appointment of a minister in Punjab government without getting elected as “improper and undemocratic”.
“Tej Prakash Singh had resigned from the position as a minister on March 8, 1996 but was reappointed without getting elected to the legislative assembly as a minister on November 23, 1996, which was challenged in the court of law,” said a law department official.