The Supreme Court has sought responses from the Centre and the Sikkim government on a petition challenging the appointment of Prem Singh Tamang as the chief minister of the Himalayan state. The petitioner has contended that Mr Tamang was not qualified to hold the office as he was convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, making him ineligible for the job.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has also sought responses from the parties on a plea seeking stay on Mr Tamang taking any major policy decision or other important governance duties as the state's chief minister.
Mr Tamang, who is popularly known as Golay, was sent to jail in 2017 after he was found guilty of misappropriating government funds worth Rs 9.5 lakh in a cow distribution scheme. He was the minister of animal husbandry when the scam took place between 1994 and 1999. He was released from jail on August 10, 2018.
The petition, which has been settled by senior advocate GV Rao, said, "Tamang has not only been allowed to contest the elections, but he has also been wrongfully elected as the Chief Minister of Sikkim despite being a disqualified and ineligible for contesting in the elections and is thereby bad in law."
The appointment of Mr Tamang as Sikkim's chief minister was "unconstitutional" and "violates the fundamental core of the Constitution"
Mr Tawang's Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) won the assembly elections in the state two months back, ending a the 25 year rule of former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and his party - the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF).
Mr Chamling's party has alleged that Prem Singh Tamang cannot contest the elections till 2024.