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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

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We will approach HC, SC for justice to Lalu, says Tejashwi Yadav

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Patna, Jan 24: The RJD on Wednesday said it will go to the High Court, and if needed approach the apex court, against the special CBI court verdict convicting party chief Lalu Prasad in the third fodder scam case.

“The CBI court’s conviction is neither final nor the last. We will challenge the verdict in the High Court,” Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav said.

He was speaking after Lalu Prasad along with another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra was convicted by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ranchi in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in 1992-1993.

It was alleged that the Rs 33.67 crore was withdrawn on fake allotment letters. This is the third fodder scam case in which the RJD chief has been convicted.

Tejashwi Yadav, former Deputy Chief Minister and younger son of Lalu Prasad, told media that if needed the party will approach the Supreme Court for justice. “We will go to the apex court for justice to Laluji, who is the people’s hero and icon of social justice.”

Tejashwi Yadav said: “Laluji lives in the hearts of crores of people, not only in Bihar but across the country and abroad. Laluji may be behind the bars after being framed under conspiracy by his rivals, mainly the BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also JD-U president. RJD will go to the people because their decision is bigger than any decision.”

“We all know that BJP has been conspiring against Laluji but we have full confidence in the judiciary, and Laluji will get justice soon,” he added.

Lalu Prasad is currently lodged in a jail in Ranchi after being convicted in a fodder scam case last December.

IANS

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20 AAP MLAs case: Delhi HC asks EC not to issue bypoll notification before Jan 29

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New Delhi, Jan 24: Delhi High Court today directed Election Commission not to issue bypoll notification regarding the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs, till the next hearing which is slated to be held on January 29.

The court issued to notices to all respondents including the Election Commission on a plea filed by 8 disqualified  AAP MLAs.

On January 19, the poll panel sent its recommendation to the President for his assent to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi party MLAs for holding ‘office of profit’.

Following this, President Ram Nath Kovind disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding Office of Profit.

After this the MLAs have challenged the EC’c recommendation in the Delhi High Court.

WeForNews

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Please tell Davos about wealth disparity in India: Rahul to Modi

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Rahul Gandhi, File Photo

New Delhi, Jan 23: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday in a jibe asked him to inform the top global forum “why one per cent of India’s population gets 73 per cent of its wealth?”.

“Dear PM, welcome to Switzerland! Please tell DAVOS why 1% of India’s population gets 73% of its wealth? I’m attaching a report for your ready reference,” Gandhi tweeted.

Gandhi attached a new survey by international rights group Oxfam in which it is mentioned that India’s richest one per cent garnered as much as 73 per cent of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017.

The report’s findings are in line with those of similar studies including the one published by renowned economists Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty last July, and give credence to the theory that the rich have disproportionately benefited from liberalisation while others have been left struggling.

Modi on Tuesday attended the WEF in Davos, Switzerland and gave the opening plenary speech. He is the first Prime Minister from India to participate in a forum meeting in two decades after the then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in 1997.

He interacted with 120 members of the International Business Council, which is a part of the WEF.

Input from IANS

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