Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) chairman Pynshngaiñlang N Syiem questioned the validity of the decision to hold elections to the post of chairman and chief executive member (CEM).
The election to the KHADC chairman and CEM posts was announced after the lifting of the governor’s rule from the Council, which was brought under ‘suspended animation’ for over a month.
The KHADC was brought under governor’s rule on February 7, after which Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy appointed the East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner as the ‘administrator.’
However, on Friday (March 13), the governor’s rule in KHADC was lifted by the state government, and the date for an election of the chairman was fixed at 10 am on March 17, and the election of the chief executive member at 11 am on March 18.
“Once the governor’s rule is lifted, the executive committee led by Latiplang Kharkongor as the CEM, has been automatically restored,” Syiem told reporters on Saturday.
He also said the CEM and chairman or deputy chairman of the KHADC cannot be removed by imposing the governor’s rule because these three posts are elected by members of the council, not appointed by the governor.
Syiem said he would move the court if the election to the post of chairman is held.
He said the state government cannot compare the post of chief minister in the state with that of the CEM post in the council.
“The chief minister is not elected but appointed by the governor, whereas the post of CEM in the council is not appointed by anybody, but elected by members of the council,” Syiem said.
Syiem also pointed out that when the Centre brought the State Assembly under ‘suspended animation’ through President’s Rule, the state government would collapse, but the speaker and deputy speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly remained.
“In the case of the state, once the President’s Rule is lifted, a new chief minister has to be appointed by the governor and face the trial of strength in Assembly.”
“But in the district council, the CEM, chairman or deputy chairman are not appointed by the governor, but elected by members of the Council.”
“Therefore, calling fresh election for the post of CEM, chairman or deputy chairman is out of question because there are no vacancies,” Syiem argued.
He said though the governor’s rule was imposed in KHADC, the CEM, chairman or deputy chairman of the Council remained as they have not been removed as per rule 21 and rule 11 of the autonomous districts (constitution of district councils) rules, 1951.
Syiem informed that he is now waiting for a verdict on the petition filed by the CEM, Latiplang Kharkongor, in the Meghalaya High Court challenging the validity of the governor’s rule as it was imposed in the KHADC “without any ground.”