Convicted Haryana Cong MLA Pradeep Chaudhary stands disqualified

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Chandigarh, Jan 30 (PTI) Congress' MLA Pradeep Chaudhary from Kalka stands disqualified following his conviction by a Himachal Pradesh court in a nearly a-decade-old case, Haryana assembly speaker Gian Chand Gupta said on Saturday.

Chaudhary was sentenced to three years in jail by a Nalagarh court in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh following his conviction earlier on January 14 in a case of assault, rioting and other penal offences, said Gupta, adding the Kalka MLA incurred disqualification from the date of his conviction.

Fourteen others too were convicted and sentenced to three years in jail along with the Haryana MLA.

Gupta told reporters that the notification issued by the state assembly secretariat following his disqualification after his conviction entailing a jail term longer than two years has also declared the Kalka seat as vacant from January 14.

“Today, we issued the notification and Kalka seat has been declared as vacant from January 14,” Gupta said.

A sitting MLA stands disqualified automatically under the provisions of section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 following his conviction in any offence entailing a jail term longer than two years.

Replying to a question, Gupta said Chaudhary can appeal in the higher court and whatever will be the decision of the court, we will act accordingly.

The notification issued by the Haryana assembly secretariat said, “Consequent upon the conviction of Pradeep Chaudhary, MLA under sections 143, 341, 147 of the IPC, by the court of Jitender Kumar, Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Nalagarh, District Solan, Chaudhary, representing the Kalka Assembly constituency of Haryana, stands disqualified from the membership of Haryana Vidhan Sabha from the date of his conviction, that is January 14, 2021,” The MLA has incurred disqualification under the provisions of section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951, the notification added.

“Accordingly Kalka assembly constituency has fallen vacant with effect from January 14,” the notification further said.

Section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People Act states that a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to a jail term longer than two years would stand disqualified from the date of the conviction and would continue to be disqualified from contesting any election for a further period of six years after his release.

The disqualification of its MLA has come as a blow to the Congress.

The party had been contemplating to bring a no-confidence motion against the M L Khattar government with the party’s senior leader B S Hooda recently saying that the BJP-JJP regime has lost the trust of the people, as well as some of the MLAs supporting the government.

A few days ago, lone INLD MLA Abhay Singh Chautala had resigned as MLA over the farm laws issue.

After Chaudhary's disqualification, in the 90-member Haryana Assembly, the Congress now has a strength of 30 MLAs, with 40 MLAs belonging to the BJP, 10 to its ally JJP and one MLA to the Haryana Lokhit Party.

Seven MLAs are independents with five of them, including Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala, support the ruling combine.

The simple majority mark in the House, which has a present strength of 88 members, has come down from 46 MLAs to 45 members now. PTI SUN VSD RAX RAX