Meghalaya HC issues notice over parliamentary secretaries

The Meghalaya high court has issued a notice to the Meghalaya government for a final hearing on the matter of the posts of parliamentary secretaries.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Ved Prakash Vaid on Wednesday heard a Public Interest Litigation challenging the appointment of parliamentary secretaries in the state.

The notice comes after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law enacted by Assam in 2004 that allowed appointment of parliamentary secretaries with the rank of minister of state.

On July 26, a bench of Justice J Chelameswar, Justice RK Agrawal and Justice AM Sapre noted that the Constitution’s Article 194 “does not expressly authorise the state legislature to create offices such as the one in question.”

“In view of the law declared by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid decision, this matter does require consideration; and at the earliest,” the high court said.

The bench also issued notices to the central government, the Election Commission besides the 17 parliamentary secretaries in the state.

Madal Sumer, the petitioner, said the appointment of parliamentary secretaries cannot find any valid place in the Constitution and is extra-constitutional and illegal.

“There is no law in the nation which empowers the chief minister to appoint anybody into any post or administer oath of office to anybody,” the petitioner said.

“With the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and administration of oath of office to all of them, the chief minister has corrupted his chair and misused his office illegally and unconstitutionally,” Sumer added.

The hearing of the matter will take place on September 1.

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