HC rejects Manipur BJP leader's election as MLA

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Imphal, Apr 15 (PTI) The High Court of Manipur on Thursday declared the election of BJP leader's Okram Henry Singh as a member of the state assembly as null and void for submitting an incomplete affidavit during the submission of nomination paper before the poll in 2017.

Justice MV Muralidaran also declared that Yumkham Erabot Singh, who was defeated by Henry, duly elected from the Wangkhei constituency.

Henry had won from Wangkhei in 2017 on Congress ticket by a margin of 4,336 votes defeating Erabot of the BJP. He switched to the saffron party in 2020.

Henry, however, currently is not a member of the assembly as he had resigned as MLA while joining the BJP in August 2020 and made a minister the next month.

Erabot, in an election petition, had alleged that Henry submitted an incomplete affidavit in 2017, and prayed for declaring his election as null and void.

In the verdict, the court said that Henry was supposed to provide in the affidavit details of the name of his spouse and dependents, and those of his pending criminal cases and educational qualification.

'... but for reasons best known to him, (he) failed to disclose the said information. Non-disclosure of the material information of the Respondent No. 1 (Henry) amounts to violation of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and rules thereof, and hence his election is fit to be declared as null and void,' it said.

On September 24 last year, Henry was allotted departments of Municipal Administration, Housing and Urban Development (MAHUD), Social Welfare and Cooperation.

As he is not an MLA, he cannot continue as a minister beyond six months from that date. His appointment as a minister expired on March 24 this year.

Henry recently moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Election Commission to hold by-poll in Wangkhei constituency. However, the apex court on April 7 told him to approach the state high court.

He had submitted before the Supreme Court that he 'reliably understands' that the EC is not conducting the by- poll in view of the fact that an election petition challenging his election is pending before the High Court of Manipur. PTI COR NN NN