Onkar Singh in New Delhi
A Supreme Court constitutional bench hearing a bunch of public interest litigations against the appointment of J Jayalalithaa as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, asked her advocate K K Venugopal, if the governor could appoint a twenty-four-year man/insolvent person/a foreigner -- who are normally disqualified from contesting elections -- as the chief minister.
The counsel for Jayalalithaa would address the apex court on this point on Thursday.
After Solicitor General of India Harish Salve concluded his arguments, K K Venugopal started building up a defence for Jayalalithaa.
He argued that when a superior court stayed the sentence, then the disqualification proposed under the people's representation act does not apply.
He also stressed that under the provisions of the Constitution, the governor was bound to swear in the leader of the majority party as the chief minister of the state.
At one point, the court asked if the governor could have held consultations with the election commission on this matter or taken a legal opinion from the attorney general of India.
The five judge-bench, presided over by Justice S P Bharucha, will continue the hearing on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Justice Bharucha had asked Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, who was assisting the court as amicus curiae, what redressal the government of India could offer if the apex court were to hold the appointment of Jayalalithaa as illegal and unconstitutional.
Sorabjee, may reply on Thursday after consulting the Union government.
"A disqualified person cannot be a representative of the electorate. Such a person cannot occupy any seat or vote in either house of Parliament or either house of state legislature. The Constitution is strict in this behalf," Sorabjee had said.
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