Raju Das SHILLONG, April 4 - The BJP today questioned the legality of the Congress-led Government’s decision to have 18 Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) in Meghalaya.
BJP National Spokesperson, Nalin Kohli (L) addressing the media at the BJP office in Shillong on Monday. – UB Photos
BJP National spokesperson, Nalin Kohli said here the issue relates to Constitutional validation. The BJP leader said the Congress-led Government is stuck in its own contradiction by making such appointments.
The Meghalaya Government through an Act – The Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous provisions) Act, 2005 – has equated PSs to the rank and status of Ministers of State.
The Act was amended further in 2010 and Constituency allowances are provided to the PSs. All these decisions were taken keeping in mind the frequent rumblings within the ruling party as the size of the Cabinet stands at 12 with downsizing.
It is being argued that the appointment of PSs is against the Article 164 (1) of the Constitution’s 91st Amendment Act, 2003 which related to restricting the size of the Council of Ministers.
Constitution’s 91st Amendment act, 2003, limits the size of the Council of Ministers in the Union and State Government to fifteen per cent of the total number of Members of the Lok Sabha and State Legislature.
In 2015, the Calcutta High Court declared the office of PSs as “unconstitutional and void” in West Bengal. Last month, a PS, Lamboklang Mylliem, holding the Taxation department quit his office terming the office as unconstitutional. This has compelled the Law department in the State to again review the appointment of PSs.
Meanwhile, slamming Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Kohli said, the fact that the Congress-led government has appointed PSs speaks volume about its confidence on its 12 Ministers.