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Parl.Secys withdrawn in Mizoram
Published on 5 Aug. 2009 1:56 AM IST
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The Mizoram government has withdrawn the appointment order of six parliamentary secretaries issued on July 22. The dramatic development came after former state Law Minister H Rammawi moved Gauhati High Court, alleging that the appointment of the parliamentary secretaries by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla was a clear violation of the Article 164 (1a) of the constitution. According to a UNI report, the Chief Secretary, in charge of the political and cabinet departments, issued the withdrawal order on July 31 without citing any specific reason, according to official sources here today. Earlier this year, the state Assembly had passed a Bill on salary and allowances of ministers, parliamentary secretaries and MLAs to enhance the status, salary and facilities of parliamentary secretaries. The Bill enabled the parliamentary secretaries the rank and perks of ministers of state and also authorised the Chief Minister to appoint as many parliamentary secretaries as he desired. The state Assembly on July 23 passed an amendment to the Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business in Mizoram Legislative Assembly which deleted parliamentary secretaries under the definition of ministers. ‘First Report of Rules Committee’, presented in the House by Speaker R Romawia, made an amendment to the Chapter 1, Rule 2, sub number 1(n). As a result only council of ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers come under the definition of ‘ministers’. Former state Law Minister H Rammawi alleged that the appointment of the parliamentary secretaries in Mizoram was a clear violation of the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003, which stated that the number of council of ministers, including the chief minister, should not exceed 15 per cent of the total number of members of the state Assembly. In the case of smaller states like Mizoram, the number of ministers, including the Chief Minister, shall not be less than 12. ‘’The appointment of six parliamentary secretaries mean Mizoram has 18 ministers and minister of states which is a clear violation of the Article 164 (1A),’’ Mr Rammawi alleged. The appointment of parliamentary secretaries in some states has led to filing of similar cases and the judgment of the Gauhati High Court is certain to be add to the argument against what some see as being an “ extra constitutional parameter”.

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