Tribunal stays CEO’s order disqualifying 4 Councillors

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 14: In an appeal filed by Naresh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Rekha Devi and Renu Bala, who were disqualified as Councillors by the Chief Electoral Officer, Member J&K Special Tribunal Jammu Puneet Gupta has stayed the impugned order.
Advocate Abhinav Sharma appearing for the appellants submitted that the appellants were elected as Members of Municipal Council, Kathua but were disqualified under Section 18 of Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000 vide order dated 07.6.2019, passed by the Chief Electoral Officer.
The court was informed that the appellants have been disqualified on the ground that they have given up the membership of their original political party, formed a group and joined another party and the group so formed merged with the other party which was not as per Section 18-B of the Act and whip issued by the party for electing the President of the Council was not honoured by the appellants.
Advocate Abhinav Sharma further submitted that the appellants were elected as members of Municipal Council, Kathua representing ‘Indian National Congress’ (INC) and thereafter formed a group and stated to have joined another political party, namely Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
After hearing both the sides in length, Special Tribunal, “it is not in dispute that the appellants had been duly elected to the Council as its members. In fact, the appellants’ basic election as members of the Council is not under challenge. The election to the posts of President and Vice-President subsequent to the election to the Council has brought the disqualification of the appellants into picture”.
“As the points raised in the appeal require consideration, factual aspects are also required to be thrashed and that the appellants were duly elected as members to the Council and this fact is not in dispute, appellants have made out a case in their favour in the application in hand”, the Tribunal said, adding “it is not urged on behalf of the respondents in the application in hand that the order impugned cannot be Interfered with if the case is otherwise made out in the application for interim relief”.
Accordingly, Tribunal stayed the impugned order till disposal of the main appeal. “However, the appellants shall not be entitled to monetary benefits, if any, as members of the Council as the same shall be subject to outcome of the appeal”, the Tribunal made it clear.