Governor to decide fate of 17 Meghalaya MLAs
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
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 communicationfrom 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 Dine sh Ma heshw ari and Justice V ed Pr aka sh Va i sh 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. CM Mu ku lS an gm a, who accepted their resignation, defended their appointment and the law.