Restore Amarinder Singh’s assembly membership: Apex court (Third Lead)

April 26th, 2010 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Chandigarh, April 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday said the ouster of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh from the state assembly on charges of corruption was unconstitutional and ordered the restoration of his membership.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan ruled that in ousting Singh for alleged corruption during his tenure as chief minister, the present assembly exceeded its jurisdiction.

The bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran, Justice P.K. Sathasivam, Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice R.M. Lodha, held that the assembly should have instituted a criminal case in the matter and the ordinary law of the land should have been allowed to take its course.

The Punjab assembly expelled Singh after a special panel of the house indicted him for allegedly causing a loss of millions of rupees by exempting a private builder from paying municipal taxes for a 32-acre plot of the Amritsar Improvement Trust.

Singh was expelled and his Patiala assembly seat was declared vacant. The Election Commission was approached to hold a by-election there. The election was stayed by the court.

Amarinder Singh is also facing a vigilance probe in other corruption-related cases like the multi-billion rupee Ludhiana city centre scam. The cases were registered during the tenure of the present Akali Dal government.

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