Supreme Court on 27 August 2014 advised the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to not to include chargesheeted persons into their cabinet.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, asked the Prime Minister to take the responsibility to not to induct any persons who are facing trial for offences as their ministers.
Though, the Constitution of India did not put any limitation or restriction which debars any Member of Parliament or Legislative Assembly to be included in the Cabinet.
Thus, while interpreting Article 75 (1) which deals with the appointment of PM and Ministers, definitely a disqualification cannot be added.
However, the bench said that the Prime Minister acts as the head of the cabinet and trustee of the constitution. PM is expected to act in accordance with constitutional propriety and not appoint unwarranted persons as Ministers.
The Bench was disposing Public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in 2005 by Manoj Narula. The PIL sought to remove the then four chargesheeted Ministers i.e Lalu Prasad, Mohammed Taslimuddin, M.A.A. Fatmi and Jai Prakash Yadav from the Union Cabinet under the then PM Manmohan Singh.
The Union Government took the stand that Article 75 did not say that any person who had criminal proceedings pending against him had to be read as disqualification of being appointed as a minister. It would be incorrect to read into the provisions of Article 75 such a disqualification when none existed.
The constitution bench while expressing concern over criminalisation of politics left it to the wisdom of the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister of a State to take a call on this aspect and not appoint such charge sheeted persons as a Minister.
Who: Supreme Court
When: 27 August 2014