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Meghalaya Governor to decide on fate of 17 MLAs

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Shillong, Nov 14: All eyes are on the Raj Bhavan that is to take a call on whether 17 Meghalaya legislators who quit as Parliamentary Secretaries after the High Court last week struck down a state law providing for such appointments can be disqualified as members of the state Assembly.

A Raj Bhavan official said that Governor Ganga Prasad is waiting for the reference of the state government and the Assembly Speaker on the court verdict on the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries.

“The Governor is yet to receive a reference from the government and Assembly Speaker on the court verdict. Once we receive the communication from them, the Governor’s office will seek the suggestion of the Election Commission on the matter,” a Raj Bhavan official told IANS on Tuesday.

On November 9, the Meghalaya High Court had held invalid the state law providing for appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries, but left it to the Governor to determine if those who held the post should be disqualified from the Assembly.

The verdict by a division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Ved Prakash Vaish came on a PIL filed by state resident Madal Sumer, challenging the “extra constitutional and illegal” appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in the state.

According to Article 192 of the Constitution, 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 will be referred for the decision of the Governor and his decision shall be final.

Leaving it open to the Governor to decide on the issue of disqualification of Parliamentary Secretaries as Assembly members, the bench had noted: “It is hardly a matter of any doubt that when a question arises as to whether a member of a House of the Legislature of the state has become subject to any of disqualifications mentioned in Article 191(1), the question has to be referred for the decision of Governor; and the decision of the Governor in this regard, on the basis of the opinion of Election Commission, is final.”

However, 10 of the 17 legislators who quit as Parliamentary Secretaries following the High Court verdict have said there is no ground for their disqualification as members of the Assembly.

Sujit Dey, counsel for the 10 legislators, said that the issue of disqualification becomes “infructuous” since the post of Parliamentary Secretary itself has ceased to exist, and out of respect for the court verdict, all Parliamentary Secretaries had immediately resigned.

Hours after the November 9 verdict, 17 Parliamentary Secretaries quit their post.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who accepted their resignation, defended their appointment and the law.

“This law has been enacted based on this mandate of the provisions of the Constitution by which we can prevent the members of the august house from getting disqualified for holding an office of profit wherein law says such office will be deemed as not as office of profit,” Sangma said.

However, Madal Sumer submitted a representation to Governor Prasad on Monday evening seeking the disqualification of the legislators named in the PIL, citing that “they are no longer legislators for holding office of profit”.

Sumer urged the Governor, the highest constitutional authority of the state, to exercise his power under Article 192 of the Constitution and to take a decision on the issue of disqualification

On July 26, the Supreme Court had declared as unconstitutional a law enacted by Assam in 2004 that allowed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in the rank of Minister of State.

On March 12, 2013, Chief Minister Sangma had administered the oath of office to 18 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries to assist 12 Ministers after the Congress retained power following the Assembly elections.

However, 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.

Election to the 60-member Assembly is scheduled to be held in February-March 2018.

IANS

Politics

Speaker accepts YSR Congress MPs’ resignations

The MPs had submitted their resignations on April 6 — the last day of budget session — to protest against the refusal of the Central government to accord Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.

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New Delhi/Vijayawda, June 21 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Thursday accepted resignations of five Lok Sabha MPs of the YSR Congress party.

The MPs had submitted their resignations on April 6 — the last day of budget session — to protest against the refusal of the Central government to accord Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.

According to a bulletin from Lok Sabha, the speaker has accepted the resignations of the MPs with effect from June 20.

The speaker’s move came two weeks after YSR Congress Parliamentary Party leader Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy and others met her to convey that they stand by their resignations and urged her to accept the same immediately.

The other MPs are Y.V. Subba Reddy, Vara Prasadarao Velagapalli, Midhun Reddy and Y.S. Avinash Reddy.

As the Speaker on May 29 had requested the MPs to reconsider their resignations, they met her in the national capital on June 6 to submit fresh letters, urging her to accept their resignations.

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BJP Minister threatens police superintendent, Says you were appointed due to ‘Casteism’

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Pratapgarh, June 21: Rajasthan’s tribal affairs minister Nandlal Meena reportedly threatened the Superintendent of Police (SP) and asked him to work for the people of their caste.

In a gathering, Meena said “you have been posted here because of casteism, you have to support the people of your caste, or else we have other alternatives”, ABP news reported.

The Minister also allegedly made an alleged rape victim sit on the stage making her identity known. He has been witnessing widespread criticism for both the acts.

The whole incident is of Salamgarh district where a woman of the same tribe had alleged 5 upper caste men of raping her. The allegation was found baseless in police probe as rape was not confirmed in the medical test and the statements of the woman were also not convincing.

However, under political pressure, the police had to make arrest of two people and applied section 354, instead of 376, which had angered Meena and he threatened the SP, who was of the same caste as that of the victim and the minister.

WeForNews 

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Kamal Haasan meets Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, June 21: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, who has formed a new political party Makkal Needhi Maiam, on Thursday met United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the national capital 

Informed sources described the meeting that took place at the residence of Sonia Gandhi as a “courtesy call”.

Kamal Haasan had on Wednesday met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed the situation in Tamil Nadu.

He had also met Election Commission officials and expressed confidence that the process of registration of his political party will be done in around a week’s time.

IANS

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