SHILLONG, Nov 13: Whether or not the 17 Parliamentary Secretaries appointed by the government of Meghalaya will be disqualified will be decided by the Governor of Meghalaya, Ganga Prasad.
This was conveyed by the Governor to Madal Sumer, the petitioner in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which was filed against the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries by the Congress-led state government, who met him along with other concerned citizens here on Monday.
The Governor will decide on the issue after the Meghalaya High Court, in a recent judgement held “invalid” the Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2005.
The Court has also left it open o the Governor to determine on the matter pertaining to the disqualification of the MLAs holding the post of parliamentary secretaries, provided “if raised in accordance with law”.
It may be noted here Article 192 (1) states: “If any question arises as to whether a member of a House of the Legislature of a State has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause ( 1 ) of Article 191, the question shall be referred for the decision of the Governor and his decision shall be final.”
However, soon after the ruling, the MLAs had also immediately tendered their resignations as parliamentary secretaries, which were accordingly accepted by Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma.
Sumer however said that the tendering of resignation from the post of parliamentary secretary after the pronouncement of the judgement by the High Court is “of no consequence” as the factor of disqualification attached to them does not disappear by mere resignation.
“The disqualification acquired by them does not allow them to continue as Members of the Legislative Assembly of the State,” he stated in a petition submitted to the Governor.
Sumer also opined that the government of Meghalaya, instead of following the provisions of law as laid down by the Constitution of India and interpreted by the Supreme Court, in order to ensure the survival of the present government, brought in certain amendment in the Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries/Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2005 which came into force on September 26, last year.
Sumer also said that the said amendment was made after the filing of the PIL apparently with an attempt to escape from the provisions of the law of the land, which however is irrelevant in view of the fact that the High Court also declared all follow-up actions as void.
He opined that the entire amendment was an “eye-wash” intended to cover up the failure and fault of the state government.
“The governor had stated very clearly before the delegation that he would follow as per Article 192 of the Constitution,” the president of the Meghalaya Commercial Trucks Owners and Operators Association (MCTOOA) Augustine Shanpru, who accompanied Sumer said.