ITANAGAR, Aug 14: After nearly more than a month since the Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court struck down the post of parliamentary secretaries by declaring it “unconstitutional”, Governor Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd.) has formally dismissed 23 parliamentary secretaries.
The Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court on July 25 declared the Arunachal Pradesh Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2007 as “unconstitutional”.
The division bench, comprising Justice Monojit Bhuyan and Justice Rumi Kumari Phukon, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Kyoda Ram (PIL No. 22(AP)/ 2016), pronounced the act as “unconstitutional” in line with the Supreme Court judgement of July 27 last year on the matter of appointing parliamentary secretaries.
The governor, while complying with the High Court order, has ordered that “23 members of the Legislative Assembly shall cease to be Parliamentary Secretaries”.
“Parties agreed that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court, the PIL does not survive for further consideration,” the judges had stated while delivering the judgement.
The order (No. Pari/Aff – 64/2007) to this effect, which was issued on Monday, was issued by Commissioner (Parliamentary Affairs) Bilatee Pertin on Tuesday.
When contacted, Pertin said that the state government has acted as per the direction of the High Court and there shall be no more parliamentary secretaries in state.
He said that the order would be effective forthwith retrospectively from the date of pronouncement of the judgement (July 25, 2018).
Sources, meanwhile, said the 23 parliamentary secretaries should have tendered their resignations immediately after the High court order.
On July 26 last, the Supreme Court struck down the post of parliamentary secretaries by declaring it “unconstitutional”.
The apex court’s judgement was in response to a writ petition filed in 2006 by one Bimalangshu Roy against the passage of Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act by the then Congress government in the state.
The court had cited Article 194(3) and Entry 39 of List II of the seventh schedule of the constitution to note that it “doesn’t expressly authorise the state legislature to create offices such as the one in question.”
Barring Tripura, all the other states in the Northeast followed the footsteps of the then Congress government in Assam and promulgated their own Act to appoint as many parliamentary secretaries as they wanted by creating provisions for their allowances, salaries and other perks including discretionary funds at par with a minister of state.
These Acts were primarily brought in to accommodate legislators in the government beyond the stipulated number allowed by the constitution, particularly after the 91st amendment of the Constitution.
The MLAs who lost the posts of Parliamentary Secretary are Chow Tewa Mein, Punji Mara, Phosuni Khimhun, Thangwang Wangham, Gojen Gadi, Phurpa Tsering, Jambey Tashi, Pasang Dorjee Sona, Likha Saaya, Gum Tayeng, Tapuk Taku, Kumsi Sidisow, Karya Bagang, Techi Kaso, Mama Natung,Tatung Jamoh, Nyamar Karbak, Zingnu Namchoom, Kaling Moyong, Tesam Pongte, Laisam Simai, Tage Taki and Tamar Murtem.