Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got a major relief on Monday when a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking his disqualification was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The PIL filed by Delhi-based lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma had sought NItish Kumar's disqualification for allegedly concealing a criminal case against him in his election affidavit.
The petition was rejected by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Sharma had alleged in his petition that there was a criminal case against Nitish Kumar in which he was accused of killing a local Congress leader Sitaram Singh and injuring four others ahead of the Lok Sabha byelection from Bihar's Barh constituency in 1991. The petition had also sought a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Bihar Chief Minister in the case.
"Respondent number 2 (poll panel), despite knowing facts about his (Kumar's) criminal case, did not cancel his membership of the House and respondent (Kumar) still enjoys constitutional office till date," the plea said. The lawyer had sought cancellation of Kumar's membership as per the Election Commission's 2002 order stating it was mandatory for candidates to disclose criminal cases against them in their affidavits annexed to the nomination papers.
He claimed that the Bihar chief minister did not disclose the criminal case pending against him in affidavits since 2004, except for 2012.
Earlier, the Election Commission too had opposed Sharma's plea after the Supreme Court sought its opinion. Nitish Kumar was elected as a Member of the Bihar Legislative Council on April 19, 2012 for a six-year-term. He is currently leading a Janata Dal United-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government in the state.