New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) The Supreme Court today upheld the disqualification of two Goa MLAs, former Agriculture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar (Siolim constituency) and former BJP president Rajendra Arlekar (Vasco) for holding office of profit.
While Mandrekar was holding the post of Chairman of the Goa Khadi and Village Industries Board, which enjoys the status of a Minister of State, Arlekar was the Chairman of the Backward Classes Welfare Corporation.
After Mandrekar was declared elected from the Siolim assembly constituency on June 1, 2002 he was made a Cabinet Minister in the State Government headed by the then BJP Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
NCP candidate Chandrankant Uttam Chodankar had challenged his election on the grounds that since Mandrekar was holding an office of profit on the date when he had filed his nomination and also on the date he was elected he was not qualified to be chosen as Member of the Legislative Assembly, in accordance with Article 191 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
A bench of the Mumbai High Court at Panaji vide its judgment dated July 18, 2003 had rejected the election petition.
However, the apex court set aside the High Court's judgment on December 15, 2004 and restored the election petition, with directions to the High Court to dispose of the same preferably within four months.
It was submitted before the Court that the post of Chairman of the Khadi Board carried many perks and a salary too.
The High Court in its judgment dated May 27, 2005 set aside the election of the BJP MLA on the grounds that he was indeed holding an office of profit on the date of his nomination.
The Apex court today upheld the Judgment of the Mumbai High Court and observed that the appellant was in fact holding the office of profit on the day of his nomination as well as on the day of polling.
A bench comprising the new Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Dalveer Bhandari and D K Jain reiterated that if a post carried pecuniary gains and perks, then it is an office of profit, even if the petitioner has not drawn or availed of financial benefits and dismissed their application for modification of the order also.