HC defers hearing on parl secy appointment

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IMPHAL, February 6: A Division Bench of the Manipur High Court consisting of chief justice (acting) Laxmikant Mohapatra and justice N Kotishwar Singh has postponed the final hearing of the case regarding the appointment of five Congress MLAs as parliamentary secretaries for two weeks.

The final hearing of the PIL case was fixed for today during the last hearing on January 27, 2014.

A case had been initiated at the Manipur High Court following a Public Interest Litigation, PIL filed by Former project director, Manipur AIDS Control Society, Dr Khomdon Singh Lisam against the appointment of the MLAs.

The five Congress MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries are Keisham Meghachandra Singh, Mairenbam Prithiviraj Singh, Victor Keishing, Vungzagin Valte and Md Amin Shah.

An official order issued by the then state chief secretary DS Poonia on October 6, 2012 had appointed the five MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

Just two-day after the official announcement, the five Congress legislators were sworn in as parliamentary secretaries during a simple ceremony held at the Cabinet Hall of the chief minister’s Secretariat.

The same year, Dr Khomdom Singh Lisam had challenged before the High Court of Manipur that the appointment of the five MLAs as parliamentary secretaries violates Article 164 (A) of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner had also highlighted that according to the “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business” of the Manipur Legislative Assembly the parliamentary secretary also holds the rank of minister of state.

As fixed during the last hearing, the case was tabled today as the Item No I on the cause list, however, the advocate general Th Ibohal Singh representing the respondents had appealed to the court for some more time before the final hearing.

He had appealed that since similar cases had occurred in the neighbouring state Nagaland and other similar cases are still pending at the Supreme Court of India, he wanted to collect more related documents and references.

Following the prayer of the AG Manipur, counsel of the petitioner, Th Manihar said that in Nagaland a new Assembly election had been conducted, after the term, wherein the appointment of parliamentary secretaries had created an issue, ended.

Even if there are pending cases in the Supreme Court it is not related with the case in Manipur state, he had observed

After listening to both presentations, the division bench has given two weeks-time before the final hearing.

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