The Delhi High Court has observed that arrested Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain cannot be disqualified from Cabinet and Assembly as a “person with unsound mind”.
Turning down a plea to disqualify Jain on the basis of “unsound mind”, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker is facing prosecution for various offences and the Code of Criminal Procedure which deals with investigation, inquiry, and trial caters to all contingencies and it is for the prosecution/court to take appropriate steps in accordance with the law.
Based on averments in the petition, it cannot declare Jain as a “person with unsound mind” and disqualify him from the Cabinet and the Assembly, the bench said.
“It is true that cases have been registered against respondent No.5 (Jain) and respondent No.5 is facing prosecution for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act as well as Prevention of Money Laundering Act. However, the fact remains that the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is a complete code in itself that provides a mechanism in respect of investigation, inquiry and trial. The Code of Criminal Procedure caters to all contingencies and it is for the prosecution/court to take appropriate steps in accordance with law,” the recent order read.
“This court, based upon the averments made in the writ petition, in the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot declare the respondent No.5 (Jain) as a person with an unsound mind and cannot disqualify him from being a member of the Legislative Assembly or the Minister in the Government of NCT of Delhi in the facts and circumstances of the case. Resultantly, the writ petition is dismissed,” it held.
The plea moved by petitioner Ashish Kumar Srivastava through Advocate Rudra Vikram Singh argued; “The Delhi Government is clearly violating the Provisions of the Constitution of India under Article 191 (1)(b) which clearly states ‘a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of state if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court,”
“Continuing an unsound person with so many important portfolios of the Government is cheating the voters of Delhi, who have elected a person with clean image and good mental health… Respondent No 5 (Jain) is holding an important portfolio in the government and because of his mental illness/unsound mind/memory loss the public of the NCT of Delhi will suffer a lot,” it added.
Jain, whose bail has been denied in various hearings since May 31, is in judicial custody.
The CBI has accused Jain, his wife and others of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act. On March 31, the ED provisionally attached immovable properties worth Rs 4.81 crore belonging to companies beneficially owned and controlled by the minister.
On June 6, the ED conducted raids at multiple locations belonging to Jain, his wife and his accomplices, who had either directly or indirectly assisted him or participated in the processes of money laundering. The recovery of Rs 2.85 crore in cash and 133 gold coins weighing 1.80 kg was made during the raid.
Recently, a similar plea seeking suspension of Jain was dismissed by the high court.
It was contended that Jain was arrested over his alleged involvement in hawala transactions in 2015-2016 with a Kolkata-based firm. The arrest is repugnant and inconsistent with the rule of law as he is a public servant having a constitutional oath to uphold the rule of law in the interest of the public, it stated.