In a significant development ahead of the ensuing Assembly polls in Meghalaya, Governor Ganga Prasad on Friday sent a prompt to the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding disqualification of 17 parliamentary secretaries of the State for ‘holding office of profit’.
Governor’s action assumes significance at a time when the ECI recommended disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on Friday for holding office of profit since they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries.
A Raj Bhavan source said on Friday that a reminder letter was sent to the ECI last week seeking response on the disqualification after the Governor had referred the matter to the ECI in November last year.
The 17 MLAs who were holding the post of parliamentary secretaries are Comingone Ymbon, Samuel M Sangma, Limison D Sangma, Winnerson D Sangma, Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem, Cherak W Momin, Brigady Marak, Sengnam Marak, Rophul S Marak, Robinus Syngkon, Micheal T Sangma, Justine Dhkar, Ashahel D Shira, Stephanson Mukhim, Celestine Lyngdoh, Noverfield R Marak and Marthon Sangma.
On November 13 last year, a representation was to the Governor seeking disqualification of the MLAs.
As per law, the Governor needs to refer the matter to the ECI to determine whether the legislators were holding office of profit.
Subsequently on November 16 last year, the Governor referred the matter to the ECI.
The Governor acted after the High Court of Meghalaya had on November 9 declared the appointment of parliamentary secretaries illegal based on a PIL filed by Madal Sumer of Jowai, West Jaintia Hills. Sumer had submitted the representation to the Governor under Article 192 (1) of the Constitution seeking disqualification of the MLAs.
Notably, on the same day, all the parliamentary secretaries resigned from their posts.
The Court had also left it to the governor to decide on the disqualification of the 17 MLAs for holding the post of parliamentary secretaries.