Thiruvananthapuram: State Election Commissioner V. Bhaskaran has rejected Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena’s recommendation to disqualify panchayat member N.P. Saleena against whom a case of impersonation was registered recently in connection with bogus vote.
In a letter to the CEO, the State Election Commission said since Saleena had not been convicted and the state government had not authorised the CEO to refer the case, action cannot be initiated against the panchayat member. The disqualification of an elected member has been well laid down in Section 31 and 32 of Kerala Panchayat Raj Act. As per the provisions of the Act, only the State Election Commissioner has the powers to disqualify a member. A panchayat member can be disqualified only of he or she is convicted in a case pertaining to impersonation or misconduct.
The State Election Commission cannot take action suo motu against elected members of the local bodies. For this a member of the panchayat concerned or a voter of the panchayat should make a reference before the Election Commission or file a case or petition before an official authorised by the government for this purpose. However, the CEO has not been empowered to make a reference for disqualification of a member to the State Election Commission.
It may be recalled that Mr Teeka Ram Meena had recommended the State Election Commission to seek Saleena’s resignation and asked the panchayat member to step down and cooperate with the detailed probe which is being conducted in the bogus vote case.
The case against her was registered under Section 171 (c), 171(d) and 171(f) of Indian Penal code for impersonation. The case was registered in connection with the bogus voting at Pilathara UP School booth in Kannur....