HC seeks government's view on office-of-profit row

HC seeks government's view on office-of-profit row

Anayat, who lost to Karbalai in the recent Assembly election, has approached the High Court through his counsel Jahangir Iqbal Ganaie challenging Karbalai’s election.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed the State government to file a written statement in response to contentions in a plea against Asgar Ali Karbalai of Congress.

The plea has been filed by Peoples Democratic Party candidate from Kargil, Anayat Ali, saying that Karbalai held an office of profit at the time of filing his nomination for Assembly election.

Anayat, who lost to Karbalai in the recent Assembly election, has approached the High Court through his counsel Jahangir Iqbal Ganaie challenging Karbalai’s election.

Following the submission by Advocate Ganaie that High Court has to decide the election petition preferably within a period of six months in keeping with section 94 (6) (7) of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Representation Act 1957, the bench of Justice Hassnain Massodi issued Dasti notice to the concerned including the State government, Election Commission of India and LAHDC, Kargil, for response within two weeks.

The petitioner submits that Karbalai held office of Executive Councilor, Ladakh Hill Development Council, Kargil, under the State government on the date he filed his nomination papers and continued to hold the office on the date of scrutiny.

Stating that Karbalai enjoyed the status of a cabinet minister and received salary and other perks and allowances accordingly, the petitioner seeks that he should be disqualified from membership of the Legislative Assembly in keeping with section 69 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

Seeking directions that Karbalai’s election to the constituency No. 49-Kargil be declared as void, the petitioner pleaded that as per Section 69 (1) (a) of the Constitution of J&K, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen for being a member of the Legislative Assembly if he holds any "Office of Profit" under the Government of India or the State Government or any other State government within the Union of India other than an office declared by Legislature by law not to disqualify its holder.

He submitted that in terms of Section 35 of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997, the Chief Executive Councilor is the whole-time functionary of the Council and is being paid salary and other allowances for such office, saying that as per the mandate of SRO 293 of 2003 the Chief Executive Councilor, Kargil, has been given the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister and is entitled to all the perks available to a Cabinet Minister.