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HC stays Meghalaya Speaker’s order
Correspondent Shillong, Mar 20:
Published on 21 Mar. 2009 2:09 AM IST
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The Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court today stayed the interim order of Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Bindo M Lanong suspending the voting rights of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) MLA Paul and Independent MLA Limison D Sangma. Lyngdoh, a senior cabinet minister and Sangma, a Parliamentary Secretary had withdrew support to the NCP-backed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) coalition government, were suspended from exercising their voting rights during the trial strength of the MPA in the Assembly on March 17. The MPA coalition government survived the floor test in the Assembly with Speaker Bindo M Lanong casting his decisive vote in its favour. The MPA secured 28 votes, while the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance managed to secure only 27. The MPA government was dismissed after the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today issued the proclamation imposing President’s Rule under article 356 of the Constitution on the recommendation of Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary, who stated that the ‘constitutional machinery’ had broken down in the state. Three other MLAs - Hills State People’s Democratic Party’s Dr Adviser Pariong, Deputy Speaker and NCP legislator Sanbor Shullai and Independent MLA Ismail R Marak were also suspended from their voting rights in the 60-member House. In his interim order, Justice T Vaiphei observed said that there is no prima facie case for initiating disqualification proceedings against the KHNAM and Independent legislators. In the case of Lyngdoh, Justice Vaiphei said, “a prima facie case of disqualification of the petitioner (Lyngdoh) under Tenth Schedule is made out, is nothing but perversity, which cannot be sustained in law. Nor is a prima facie case of disqualification proceeding made out.” While in the case of the Independent MLA, Justice Vaiphei said, Sangma admittedly contested the Assembly election as an Independent candidate and was not set up by any political party. Therefore, unless, he joins a political party, the question of his disqualification does not arise. Though, the Congress is elated with the court’s decision, the Assembly Speaker, however, made it clear that he would not abide any court orders as his suspension order against the legislators were based as per the rules of the assembly. He added: article 122 and 212 of the Constitution and provisions under the Tenth schedule of the constitution bar intervention by courts into the proceedings of Parliament and state assemblies. Sangma meets President NCP leader P A Sangma had a hectic schedule Friday when he met various leaders in New Delhi to drum support against President’s Rule in his state imposed after the Governor S.R.Mooshahary’s report on the controversial floor test on March 17. Sangma approached President Pratibha Patil and demanded immediate recall of the Meghalaya Governor for his “biased report” which led to the Central rule in the north eastern state. Sangma, the architect of the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA), said the imposition of the President’s rule was “unconstitutional”. “We met Rastrapatiji and lodged a formal complaint against the unconstitutional imposition of President’s rule in Meghalaya. “We pointed out to the President that any promulgation under article 356 have to be ratified by the Parliament because the President assumes the executive power but President always gives the legislative power to the parliament and today Parliament is not there,” Sangma, who led a delegation of state NCP leaders, said. He said the country is in the midst of election and even the constitutional mandate of ratification cannot be fulfilled. Asked about President’s response, Sangma said Patil gave the delegation a patient hearing. The NCP leader said Meghalaya has been facing political instability for a long time as there have been 21 governments in the state in the last 35 years. “We are trying to bring in change in the state, but we are not being allowed,” Sangma said. How development will take place in Meghalaya, he asked. Asked about his meetings with Opposition Leader in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, Sangma said he briefed the leaders about the situation in the state. “We have met and briefed them about the current situation in the state,” Sangma said. He said the non-Congress political parties will meet in Guwahati on Sunday and launch an agitation against the “injustice meted out” to the people of the North East. “I have sought their support. Both Advani and Karat has assured us full support to our movement,” he added. Criticising the Gauhati High Court’s stay on Meghalaya Speaker B M Lanong’s ruling placing two legislators under interim suspension, NCP leader P A Sangma today said a speaker is not “bound by any court ruling”. “The Speaker can take his own decision and is not obliged to court rulings. The Speaker of any assembly is not bound by any court ruling,” Sangma told PTI.

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