Hearing on dual posts on Oct 9

High Court to take up crucial PIL on MLAs-cum-MDCs

SHILLONG: The crucial hearing on the PIL related to dual posts pending with the High Court of Meghalaya will be held on October 9.
The hearing assumes significance after the State Government on September 24 passed the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Amendment Bill, 2015 which prompted seven dual post holders to quit the post of MDCs. The lone legislator who has refused to resign as MDC is KHADC Chief Executive Member Pynshngain N Syiem.
However, the Bill which was to come into effect from October 1 is pending with Advocate General K.S. Kynjing for his comments after the Governor had sent it back to him for further examination.
Sources said the advocate general has to give his views on whether the decision is as per the requirement of the Constitution and whether the state legislature is competent enough to pass the Bill.
The Government showed urgency to pass the Bill citing that its effort was to prevent the disqualification of eight legislators who are holding the post of MDCs since the High Court had sought a reply from the Meghalaya Governor on his decision on the issue of dual posts as raised in the PIL.
The State Government had made it clear that since the next hearing of the PIL will be held on October 9, there was urgency on the part of Government to pass the Bill.
The fear of the State Government was that the legislators can be disqualified from the Assembly once the PIL   comes up for hearing and the attempt of the Government in passing the Bill was to prevent the disqualification.
However, the mover of the PIL, Agnes Kharshiing, has reiterated that she wants a logical conclusion to her demand since what she wanted was the disqualification of all eight MLAs who were holding the posts of MDCs.
During the last hearing held on August 25, the High Court of Meghalaya wanted the Governor to take a final call on the dual posts without depending on the Union Home Ministry.
Earlier, the Governor’s Secretariat had filed an affidavit in the High Court stating that the Union Home Ministry was yet to send the reply related to the queries from the Governor on whether MLAs can also function as MDCs.
While the advocate general during the hearing on August 25 had sought six weeks’ time to file an affidavit in the Court after getting response from the Centre regarding the dual posts, the High Court had reiterated that the Government should get the decision of the Governor without getting any response from the Union Home Ministry.
Though the advocate general had brought to the notice of the Court that there was a proposal for amendment of the Sixth Schedule in Parliament which would restrict MDCs from taking up dual posts, the Court was of the opinion that the amendment move would be contempt of court as the matter is pending in the Court.
The PIL had sought the disqualification eight MLAs cum MDCs in Khasi and Jaintia Hills – Stephanson Mukhim, H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, Metbah Lyngdoh, Pynshngain N Syiem, Phlastingwell Pangniang, Sanbor Shullai and Brolding Nongsiej.
The PIL highlights 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).
The rule 17 (1) (a) says, “A person shall be disqualified for being elected as, and for being, a member of the District Council if he is a salaried servant of the Government of India or the Government of any State specified in the first schedule to the Constitution or is an employee of any District Council or any Regional Council.”

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