The commission also cautioned Anantharaman that if he failed to appear before it, action would be initiated against him without prior intimation. 

PUDUCHERRY: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued notice to Puducherry Government Whip R K R Anantharaman to appear before the commission in person or through legal representatives on September 27 to respond to the allegations of holding ‘office of profit’, as raised by former AIADMK MLA Om Sakthi Segar. The commission also cautioned Anantharaman that if he failed to appear before it, action would be initiated against him without prior intimation.  

It may be noted that Om Sakthi Segar had made a representation to the President of India that eight legislators of Congress and DMK in the Union Territory were holding ‘office of profit’ and hence should be disqualified as per the provisions in the Puducherry MLA (prevention  and disqualification) Act. The President on September 2, 2017, sought the views of ECI in this regard.

The commission sought an explanation from the Chief Secretary, who subsequently cited the exemptions granted to MLAs holding the posts of chairman of boards, corporations, statutory bodies and other constitutional provisions. In all, 80 such posts have been exempted from attracting action for holding ‘office of profit’ through a legislation. The Puducherry MLA Act has been amended several times to avoid disqualification of representatives for holding certain offices of profit in government statutory bodies, corporations and societies.

While six of the MLAs held posts of chairman, one was posted as the Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Minister. In 1971, the post of Parliamentary Secretary was exempted from ‘office of profit’ category. However, in the case of Government Whip’s post no special exemption has been granted, as the appointment is in accordance with the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. Although Anantharaman responded to the ECI on July 12, 2018, the commission has now sent a notice to him seeking more clarity on the subject and directed him to appear before it on September 27.

Segar told news persons here that being the complainant, ECI had intimated him about the steps taken on the issue. He maintained that similar notices would be served to seven other legislators ‘soon’. “The MLAs would be disqualified and that would bring about a fall of the present government,” he added.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, K Lakshminarayanan said that it has been five days since Anantharaman received the notice, but none of the other seven MLAs have received any such communication from the ECI yet.

CM calls former MLA’s claims ‘a daydream’

Reacting to the claims of former MLA of AIADMK Om Sakthi Segar that eight MLAs of the ruling Congress and the DMK would be disqualified for holding office of profit and that would lead to the fall of the government in the Union Territory, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Monday said that the claims were just daydream.

While talking to the media persons, the Chief Minister denied the reports that the eight MLAs had received a notice from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to appear before it, and said that only Government Whip R K R Anantharaman received the notice.

“The government has already replied to the ECI citing the exemptions granted to MLAs through the amendment of the Puducherry MLA  (prevention  and disqualification) Act in 2009,” he said. Since there is no special exemption for the post of the Whip, the ECI is seeking further clarification,  Narayanasamy said and added that it was a mandatory appointment as per the 10th schedule of the constitution. “Besides, there is no monetary benefit for holding the post of the Whip. The task of the Whip is to ensure that party members follow the party policy.”

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