Amid the political disturbance in Jharkhand, knowing what happens if a CM is disqualified as an MLA becomes necessary. The EC claimed that Hemant Soren had violated the Representation of the People Act, 1951, by extending a mining lease to himself while in office. So this comes under Office of Profit.
What is the Office of Profit?
Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA is barred from holding any office of profit under the central or state government.
The article states that “a person shall not be deemed to hold an office of profit under the government of India or the government of any state by reason only that he is a minister”.
Representation of People Act, 1951
This Act makes provisions for the conduct of elections in India, corruption and other illegal activities related to elections. The Act also makes provisions for dispute redressal in matters connected to elections.
RPA 1951 also talks about the qualification and grounds for disqualifying MPs and MLAs.
Section 9A of RPA, 1951 specifically mentions that an MLA or MP can be disqualified if “there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by, that government”.
If the chief minister is disqualified as a legislature member under the office of profit law, he/she will have to resign from his post. Although there is no clear definition of an office of profit, it has been interpreted to be a position that gives the office-holder some financial gains, advantage, or benefit.
So, what now?
The final decision rests with the governor for the office of profit, bound by the opinion of the Election Commission, a quasi-judicial body in the case.
What happens if CM is disqualified as MLA?
If Hemant Soren, CM of Jharkhand, is disqualified, the JMM-Congress-RJD government will fall in Jharkhand. Soren will cease to be an MLA. But, Soren can take oath again and stay as CM for the next six months, during which he can contest a by-election and get re-elected.