Meghalaya Governor Awaits EC View On 17 MLAs’ Disqualification - Eastern Mirror
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Meghalaya governor awaits EC view on 17 MLAs’ disqualification

By IANS Updated: Jan 20, 2018 10:44 pm

Shillong, Jan. 20 (IANS): Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad has sent a reminder to the Election Commission (EC) seeking its view on the disqualification of 17 MLAs, who resigned as Parliamentary Secretaries after an adverse High Court verdict, a Raj Bhavan official said on Saturday.
On November 10, the Meghalaya High Court held invalid the state law providing for appointment of parliamentary secretaries in the state, but left it to the Governor to determine the disqualification of the post holders from the assembly.
“The Governor had a week ago sent a reminder to the Commission, as required under Article 192(2) of the Constitution, after the Meghalaya High Court held as invalid the state law providing for the appointment of parliamentary secretaries,” the official told IANS.
Prasad had referred the matter to the Election Commission on November 16.
However, the Election Commission is yet to submit its view to Prasad on the matter.
In fact, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti had told journalists here last month that the Commission was examining the matter referred by the Meghalaya Governor on the High Court order.
“The matter was being examined legally and the Commission was taking inputs from the state government. An appropriate decision will be taken,” Joti had said.
On Friday, the Commission recommended disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators as members of the Delhi Assembly for holding “office of profit” as parliamentary secretaries.
In the Meghalaya case, the verdict by a division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Ved Prakash Vaish came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by a state resident Madal Sumer, challenging the “extra-constitutional and illegal” appointment of parliamentary secretaries.
Following the court’s verdict, Sumer submitted a representation to Governor Prasad for the disqualification of the legislators named in the PIL, citing that “they are no longer legislators for holding the office of profit”.
Sumer urged the Governor to exercise his powers under Article 192 and take a decision on disqualification.
However, 10 of the 17 legislators, who quit as Parliamentary Secretaries following the High Court verdict, have said that there is no ground for their disqualification as MLAs.
Sujit Dey, counsel for the 10 legislators, said the issue of disqualification has become “infructuous” since the post of Parliamentary Secretary itself had ceased to exist, and all parliamentary secretaries had immediately resigned after the High Court verdict.
Hours after the November 9 verdict, these 17 Parliamentary Secretaries had quit their posts.
On March 12, 2013, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had administered oath of office to 18 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries to assist the 12 ministers after the Congress retained power in assembly elections. Independent legislator Lamboklang Mylliem resigned from the post on March 29 last year, citing legal grounds. Parliamentary Secretaries Celestine Lyngdoh and Comingone Ymbon were subsequently made Cabinet ministers.
Elections to the 60-member assembly are scheduled for February 27 and the counting will take place on March 8.

By IANS Updated: Jan 20, 2018 10:44:11 pm
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