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Govt proposes Bill to end dual posts culture

SHILLONG: In a surprising development, the State Government has decided to table an Amendment Bill in the ongoing Assembly session with the objective of preventing sitting members of the Assembly from holding dual posts.
“We have decided to approve the proposal to introduce the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Amendment Bill, 2015 to replace the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Act, 1972 which would basically ensure that members of the Assembly will not be allowed to hold any dual posts. It is the prerogative of the individual members who are holding dual posts to make their own decision in relinquishing one of the posts,” Chief Minister Mukul Sangma informed newsmen after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The chief minister mentioned that the Government will not show any delay in introducing the amendment bill for consideration of the House.
The proposed Amendment Bill comes as a severe blow to as many as eight MLAs-cum-MDCs including H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, Metbah Lyngdoh, Pyngshngainlang N Syiem, Stephanson Mukhim, Phlastingwell Pangniang, Sanbor Shullai and Brolding Nongsiej.
Asked if the State Government had come up with this amendment bill to do away with the existing trend where some MLAs were doubling up as MDCs, the chief minister evaded a direct reply and mentioned that the issue had been taken to the court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), while adding that various observations were being made in this context based on the PIL.
“I am of the view that before the State Government is directed to come up with corrective measures, it is imperative for the State Government to come up with legislative correction to arrest the prevailing trend,” he said, while adding that the Cabinet considered the proposal to come with this amendment bill after due diligence.”The proposed amendment bill will now be placed in the Assembly for its consideration,” he said.
When asked if sitting members of the Assembly who are also MDCs will have to relinquish one of the posts once this bill come into the force, the chief minister replied in the affirmative and said that the prerogative will be theirs (members).
The chief minister also stated that the trend of MLAs holding the post of MDC was peculiar to the KHADC and the JHADC and not the GHADC.
According to the chief minister, they would have to set things right in sync with the spirit of the Constitution and see that there is no space for any criticism or any negative interpretation because of this practice and convention.
Earlier, the PIL, filed by CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing in October last year, sought disqualification of the eight legislators cum MDCs.
The PIL mentions about the rule 17(1) (a) of the Assam (and Meghalaya) Autonomous District (Constitution of District Councils) Rules 1951 for the disqualification of MDCs who are holding other posts (as legislators).

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