Bhujbal's arrest: Law doesn't mandate prior intimation, says Legislature Secretary

Mumbai: The opposition NCP today contended in both the Houses of Maharashtra legislature that the Enforcement Directorate should have given prior intimation to the Assembly secretariat about the decision to arrest its senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal in a money laundering case.

Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal

However, Legislature Secretary Anant Kalse said there was no such rule or legal precedent that the investigating agency must inform the legislature secretariat about imminent arrest of a sitting MLA or a MLC.

"The investigating agencies, however, have to inform the legislature after the arrest of a member," he told reporters. As to disqualification, Kalse said only if a member is sentenced to not-less-than two years' imprisonment, his or her membership of the House stands terminated.

In July 2013, the Supreme Court struck down section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act which allowed a legislator to file appeal and obtain stay to avoid disqualification upon conviction. Following the ruling, a
member of Parliament or a state legislature stands disqualified from the date of conviction.

Bhujbal was arrested in the Maharashtra Sadan scam last night. In the past, those who were convicted while being sitting members of Maharashtra legislature include Suresh alias Pappu Kalani, Babanrao Gholap (Shiv Sena), Suresh Halvankar (BJP) and Sudhir Parve (BJP).

In May 2015, the apex court upheld Kalani's life sentence for the murder of a BJP worker in Ulhasnagar. Gholap was sentenced to two years in prison in a disproportionate assets case in March 2014.

Halvankar, who was convicted in a power theft case, has obtained a stay from the Bombay High Court. Parve was sentenced to two years' jail term in April 2015 for assaulting a Zilla Parishad teacher.

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