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Full HC Bench to hear PIL today

Dual post: Guv, Speaker petitioned to defer decision

SHILLONG:  The crucial hearing of the Full Bench on the pending PIL on dual post will be held on Wednesday. The PIL is listed as the last item (no.7) of the Full Bench.
The Division Bench of the High Court of Meghalaya during its hearing on October 9 had referred the matter again to the Governor V Shanmuganathan to take a final decision since the MLAs who hold dual post are not protected under the new Prevention of Disqualification (Members of Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) (Amendment) Act, 2015.
However, sources said that Raj Bhavan has not filed any fresh affidavit.
Sources added that since the Bill got the assent of the Governor, he cannot have a different view on the matter though the fresh affidavit was not filed.
During the last hearing, the Division Bench comprising Justice TNK Singh and SR Sen had also observed that such an important issue will have to be decided by the Full Bench.
Social activist Agnes Kharshiing had filed the PIL in her individual capacity and not as CSWO president in October last year.
Meanwhile, two organizations have urged the Governor to take up with Centre on the need to bring an appropriate amendment to the Constitution of India so as to prevent people from holding dual posts in the future.
“We urge your good office to intervene into the matter by taking up the issue with the Centre to bring out appropriate amendments to the Constitution of India so as to prevent anyone from holding dual post in future,” the CSWO faction led by Irene Hujon and Kynhun Peitngor president Teibor Dkhar stated in a joint memorandum to Shanmuganathan on Tuesday.
The two leaders informed that they had earlier raised the issue of dual post with the Election Commission of India.
While referring to the letter which she received from Under Secretary, Election Commission of India  Arvind Anand  on July 11, 2001, Hujon said that it had stated that an elected member of any local authority does not come under  disqualification from the State Legislative Assembly as it is not an office under the  state government by referring to Article 191 of the Constitution of India.
“Hence, it is understood that the issue is not within the purview of the state legislature but it is under the Parliament and provision of the Sixth Schedule,” Hujon said.
They also urged the Assembly Speaker to dismiss any complaint against MLA, who is  also MDC, as  the district council is not an office under the state government as per Article 191.
In the separate letter to the Assembly Speaker AT Mondal, they pointed out that disqualification provided under Article 191 of the Constitution of India would not apply to Members of Legislative Assembly holding also the posts of Members of the District Council. “Hence any complaint to the effect should be dismissed out rightly as it would be frivolous and without any merit”, they said
Earlier, the Division Bench of the High Court had asked the Meghalaya Governor to take “appropriate action” whether MLAs who were also occupying the posts of the MDCs should be disqualified. “This question is left to the competent authority under Article 192 of the Constitution to take appropriate decision as to the disqualification of MLA holding the dual post in view of the “Prevention of Disqualification (Members of Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) (Amendment) Act, 2015,” the order said.
The Article 192 of the Constitution refers to disqualifications of members: (1) 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 shall be referred for the decision of the Governor and his decision shall be final.
The Article also states that before giving any decision on any such question, the Governor shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion.

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