Northeast yet to implement SC judgement on parliamentary secretaries
By Prasanta Mazumdar | Express News Service | Published: 23rd August 2017 07:12 PM |
GUWAHATI: The Supreme Court had in July struck down an Assam legislation of 2004, which allowed the appointment of parliamentary secretaries, viewing it as “unconstitutional”. However, no state in the Northeast has implemented it as yet.
Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya, which appointed parliamentary secretaries as a matter of political convenience, have not yet implemented the SC judgment.
Nagaland governor PB Acharya, who also holds additional charge of politically unstable Arunachal, said he had not yet applied his mind to the judgment.
While admitting that parliamentary secretaries are appointed to keep a party intact, PB Acharya said he would act on the SC judgment only if he received any grievance, in writing, from an organisation, individual etc. He said he would do, whatever was possible constitutionally, if approached.
“A tribal organisation issued a memorandum, which was addressed to me and published by the newspapers. However, I haven’t received it. Unless I receive anything in writing, I cannot act on it. I haven’t applied my mind to it…
“I don’t know the position in the states of the Northeast. The Supreme Court has given a verdict and it is now a law. But how far it is applicable in our state, I don’t know,” Acharya told the New Indian Express on August 19.
That day, contents of the purported representation by the Nagaland Tribes’ Council (NTC), which the governor was referring, demanding the removal of 26 parliamentary secretaries and nine advisors of the state, were carried by local dailies. The NTC claimed that it had submitted a copy of its memorandum, addressed to the governor, to the office of the chief secretary on August 18, a day ahead of its publication.
“If I receive a request from any group or person, only then can I see to it. The governor cannot act based on newspaper reports or oral requests. Any memorandum has to be given in writing and signed by the aggrieved party. However, I am concerned about it (SC judgement) and if any representation comes to me, I will consult my legal advisors, locals etc,” Governor Acharya said.
But the opposition Congress in the state claimed that it had submitted a representation to the governor in the last week of July demanding the removal of parliamentary secretaries and advisors.
“When we went to Raj Bhavan, the governor was in Arunachal. So, we submitted a copy of the Supreme Court judgment along with our representation to his secretary. But now that he said he has not received it, we will remind him through a letter in a day or two and seek his reaction,” Nagaland Congress chief K Therie said.
There is a perception that if the parliamentary secretaries in the Northeast are axed in deference to the SC judgement, it could trigger a political crisis in the states.
The BJP is a constituent in Nagaland’s ruling alliance while it rules Arunachal and Manipur. The Congress is in power in Meghalaya and Mizoram.
Arunachal has 24 parliamentary secretaries out of the total 59 MLAs, while Meghalaya has 17 parliamentary secretaries. Mizoram too has seven parliamentary secretaries but even if they lose the posts, it may not pose a problem for chief minister Lal Thanhawla.
Thirty two of the 40 MLAs in the House are from the Congress. Manipur had 12 parliamentary secretaries, six of whom quit the post after being made members of various committees.