Arvind Kejriwal Arrested: Can a Chief Minister Serve While in Jail?

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Source-This post on Arvind Kejriwal Arrested: Can a Chief Minister Serve While in Jail? is based on the article “Can Kejriwal continue to be CM while in custody? Lessons from the Senthil Balaji case” published in “The Hindu” on 22nd March 2024.

Why in the News?

Arvind kejriwal arrested
Source- Hindustan Times

There are inquiries about whether Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal can remain in his position as CM after being remanded in judicial custody.

What does the Constitutional or legal provision say?

No immunity to CM

According to the law, under Article 361, the President of India and governors are immune from civil and criminal proceedings during their term. However, this protection doesn’t extend to prime ministers and chief ministers.

1. No provision prohibits him from continuing as CM– According to constitutional experts, no constitutional or legal provision exists to prevent him from continuing. According to the rules, he loses his position only
a.
If he loses the majority in the House
b. His party asks him to step down
c.  He resigns from the position

2. Conviction required for disqualification– According to section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, conviction is necessary for disqualification. Since Kejriwal hasn’t been convicted, he can legally stay in office. However, governing from prison presents practical challenges.

3. Practical challenges– Practical issues may arise as he would be required to lead Cabinet meetings, consult with colleagues on decisions, and review minutes for approval. However, in jail, he would be subject to the jail manual, which could pose difficulties.

What do the court judgments say?

Manoj Narula versus Union of India– In the case of Manoj Narula versus Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled that constitutional morality, good governance, and constitutional trust are fundamental criteria for holding public office.

UPSC Syllabus- Polity and Nation (Bills and Acts)

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