State fails to reply to petition on appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries as “ministers”

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IMPHAL, August 18: Advocate Thoudam Manihar Singh, expressed his disappointment over the failure of the Chief Secretary of Manipur to provide information with regards to a petition submitted to the Governor of Manipur.

Talking to IFP, Thoudam Manihar Singh, disclosed that he had recently sent a petition to the Governor of Manipur through the Chief Secretary of Manipur requesting clarification on the definition of the term “Rules of procedures and conduct of Business of Manipur Legislative Assembly” Rule 3 and Section 3 of the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (appointment, salary and allowances and Miscellaneous Provision) Act, 2012, for appointment of 5 MLAs of Manipur as Minister in the guise of Parliamentary Secretaries.

He pleaded for reply within seven days from the day of the receipt of the petition.

However, despite the written intimation from the RK Nimai Singh secretary of the Governor of Manipur, instructing to take necessary/appropriate action on the matter as “a matter of desire of the Governor of Manipur”, no reply has been received so far, rued Thoubam Manihar Singh.

In his petition underscoring the Rule 3 of the “Rules of Procedure and conduct of the Business of the Manipur Legislative Assembly”, he pointed out that it was clearly defined in the document that “Minister” means a member of the council of Ministers, a Minister of State, a deputy or a Parliamentary Secretary.

Given the fact, he pleaded the Governor to give direction to the Chief Secretary of Manipur to reply to his petition whether the “Parliamentary Secretary” mentioned in the Rules of procedure and conduct of Business is similar to that of the Parliamentary Secretary Act, 2012 or not?

Further he also questioned that according to the definition of the term “Minister” as it is in the Rules of procedure and conduct of Business whether the Parliamentary Secretary is a Minister or not?

If so, he questioned if the appointment of five more Ministers, under the name and style of “Parliamentary Secretary” under the Parliamentary Secretary Act, 2012, did not violate the provisions of Article 164(1A) of Indian Constitution, for after appointing 12 regular Ministers including the Chief Minister of Manipur, by the Governor, five more irregular Ministers have been added to the total clearly exceeding the limit set by the Article, it further posed.

Moreover, he questioned whether the act of appointing of more Minister as Parliamentary Secretary and subsequent administration of oath by the Chief Minister was liable to declared as ultra vires stating that there is no provision in the constitution to take oath of an MLA/Minister by the Chief Minister, except by the Governor of Manipur.

Thoudam Manihar Singh, is also counsel of the PIL filed at the then Guwahati High Court, Imphal bench challenging the appointment of Parliamentary Secretary. The case is still pending at the High Court of Manipur.

The MLAs who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries included Keisam Meghachandra Singh-with charge of Minor Irrigation, Mairenbam Prithvi Raj Singh-Tourism and Youth Affaris/Sports, Vungzagin Valte-Horticulture and Soil Conservation and Md Amin Shah-Minorities, OBC & SC and Victor Keishing-Tribal Affairs&Hills.

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