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Will continue to perform duties as MLA while respecting court directives: Erabot

Yumkham Erabot Singh

The Supreme Court passed interim directions which stripped Erabot’s entitlement to draw any monetary benefits in respect of the office of Member of the Assembly. 

TFM Report

Wangkhei AC MLA Yumkham Erabot on Friday maintained that recent interim directions by the Supreme Court would not affect his duty of serving the people of his constituency as an MLA. 

Speaking to TFM, MLA Erabot said that he was appointed as a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly by a verdict of the Manipur High Court and will continue to perform his duty as such. 

He also said that certain power is necessary while serving the people. However, he added that he will continue to serve his people. 

“In matters of voting in the House, I am not tied to any party in view of the directives”, he added. 

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Friday, MLA Erabot said “under the able leadership of N Biren Singh and with the number BJP is enjoying in the Assembly, there would be no occasion where my vote on the assembly floor or in any committee of the house would be required.”

MLA Erabot also said that he has come across various leading newspapers circulating different “misleading versions” of the order passed by the Supreme Court for the reasons best known to them. He requested all the media houses both print as well as electronic to verify the authenticity of any report before publishing the same.

The said order only prohibits him from enjoying personal monetary benefit entitled to him, however he said, it does not prohibit him from enjoying other facilities and benefits such as, staff allowances and others entitled to him as a legislature and to perform and execute my duties as an MLA accordingly.

“I further clarify that not only I respect the interim direction of the Apex Court. In fact, as a dedicated and responsible person, I do not have any want of my salary and as a legislature; I consider my duty to be of utmost priority,” he added in the statement.

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave interim directions which were to be operative till the civil appeal filed by Okram Henry is disposed of by the court on July 27, 2021. 

Having been sworn-in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Y Erabot Singh will be entitled to represent the electorate in the House and shall be entitled to participate in the debates. However, he shall not be entitled to cast any vote on the floor of the House or in any committee of the House, the court order said.

Erabot will also not be entitled to draw any monetary benefits in respect of the office of Member of the Assembly, it added. 

The apex court of the country also observed that while the election petition was pending consideration before the High Court and after issues were framed by the High Court for consideration, Okram Henry resigned from the concerned Assembly Constituency on August 10, 2020. The Legislative Assembly accepted the resignation on August 11, 2020.

At the time of disposal of the election petition by the order which is presently under challenge, no relief in terms of Section 116B (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was prayed for by Henry. In the circumstances, by virtue of the provisions of Section 107 of the Act, the order passed by the High Court became operative as soon as it was pronounced by the High Court, it observed. 

Another development that must be noted is that Y Erabot who was declared to have been elected by virtue of second relief granted by the High Court, was sworn-in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly on April 21, 2021 (the Gazette Notification being dated April 20, 2021), the Supreme Court noted.  

The order also mentioned that in normal circumstances, where the election of a returned candidate is set-aside, by virtue of an interim order, certain protection is afforded to the appellant (Henry). However, since Henry had resigned from the Assembly, by virtue of an interim order, he cannot be representing the cause of the electorate before the House. The only scope of the interim order would, therefore, be confined to the second relief granted by the High Court.

“While doing so, we must have due regard to two facts, namely, (i) no relief in terms of Section 116B (1) of the Act was prayed for; and, (ii) that by virtue of Gazette Notification dated 20.04.2021, respondent no.1 (Erabot) has already been sworn-in as a Member of the Assembly,” the Supreme Court observed. 

It may be mentioned that on April 15, 2021 the Manipur High Court declared Okram Henry Singh’s election as member of 15-Wangkhei Assembly Constituency in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly as “null and void”.

In the judgment following an election petition, a single bench of Justice MV Muralidaran declared that petitioner Yumkham Erabot Singh was duly elected as a member of 15-Wangkhei Assembly Constituency.

In his election petition, Erabot had alleged that Henry failed to disclose the details of Henry’s criminal pending case, his educational qualification and name of spouse and his dependents.

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