Poll Panel On Manipur Office-of-Profit Case

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Amid a report that the Election Commission (EC) has opined in favour of 12 BJP MLAs from Manipur facing disqualification in a 2018 “office-of-profit” case for holding the position of parliamentary secretaries, the poll panel on Tuesday said it never discusses a privileged communication.

According to the media report, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs were found not to be in violation by the EC as they had held the posts of parliamentary secretaries in the state under an exemption granted by two laws.

The laws were later struck down by the high court.

After the court declared the laws void, the Manipur Congress had approached Governor Najma Heptulla, seeking disqualification of the 12 BJP MLAs on account of holding the posts of parliamentary secretaries.

The governor had sought the EC”s views on the matter in October last year.

According to the report, in a letter to Heptulla in January, the poll panel has opined that since the two laws were in force at the time the lawmakers held the posts of parliamentary secretaries, they could not be disqualified for holding an office of profit retrospectively.

Responding to queries, a spokesperson for the commission said in a tweet: “EC never discusses a privileged communication (with another constitutional authority).”

Separately, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare has told Manipur Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar in a letter that the furnishing of information and disclosure of information under the newly-notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are to be overseen by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and these powers have not been delegated to the state governments or district magistrates or police commissioners.

Khare”s directive came after Imphal West District Magistrate Naorem Praveen Singh wrote a letter to the publisher or intermediary, “Khanasi Neinasi”, directing them to furnish all relevant documents for ensuring compliance to the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. PTI

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