TODAY -

Assembly passes Bill to repeal PS Act sans Oppn
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 23 2018: The Manipur Legislative Assembly today passed the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Repeal Bill 2018.As Chief Minister N Biren tabled the Bill for discussion in the House, Opposition Members Gaikhangam, K Govindas, DD Thaisii, K Meghachandra and Kh Joykisan raised objections.

After N Biren clarified to the points of objection raised by the Opposition Members, Th Lokeshwar was giving his observation when Speaker Khemchand suggested the House to decide the Bill by voice vote.

Vehemently opposing the Bill, Opposition MLAs led by Gaikhangam walked out of the House saying that they would not take part in passing the Bill.

Before the Opposition Members walked out, they made animated arguments against two sub-clauses of a particular clause of the Bill.

The sub-clauses say (a) "the repeal (of the Act) shall not affect the previous operations of the repealed Act or anything duly done in pursuance of the Act so repealed including anything done in official discharge of their duties by the Parliamentary Secretaries; or (b) any right, privilege or obligation incurred under the repealed Act." The Bill was passed by the House in the absence of the Members who had walked out.

Commenting on the Bill, Gaikhangam maintained that the Bill was unconstitutional and its passage would demean all the Members.

An Act enacted by the Assam legislative Assembly pertaining to Parliamentary Secretaries had been annulled by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court remarked that the Act was unconstitutional.

Moreover, there is the 91 st Amendment Act of the Constitution, Gaikhangam said.

The apex Court unambiguously stated no one is authorised to enact such an Act.

Moreover, the Bill has no legality in any form nor does it mention the source of law or authority.

There is neither Constitutional mandate nor sanction to enact such a Bill, Gaikhangam asserted.

"Even if we oppose vehemently and walk out of the House, the Bill may be passed somehow because they (ruling parties) are majority in the House", he said.

Forget about passing the unconstitutional, illegal Bill, it would be better if the Bill is not discussed at all, he continued.

Govindas remarked that Bill seems to have a clause which would pave way for a new Act.

"We don't have authority to enact such a Bill nor is it sanctioned by the Constitution.

As such, discussing such a Bill would disgrace the House", Govindas said.

He then urged the Government to withdraw the Bill.

DD Thaisii opined that the genesis of the Bill might be the 91st Amendment Act of the Constitution.

According to its statement of objective reasons, the 91st Amendment Act is basically about strengthening the Anti-Defection Law as enshrined in the 10th Schedule.

The 91st Amendment Act was passed with the primary objectives of amending electoral laws and restrict the size of Council of Ministers to a standard size, Thaisii said.

The Bill is unconstitutional and it challenges both the 91st Amendment Act as well as the Supreme Court verdict.

The Bill should be withdrawn in the interest of all concerned, he asserted.

K Meghachandra and Kh Joykisan made similar arguments.

N Biren said that Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012 is still in force.

No one including High Courts and the Supreme Court has ever remarked that the Act enacted by the Manipur Assembly in 2012, is wrong.

The Act was enacted with due approval of majority of the House in a very Parliamentary manner, he added.

Whereas the Assam's Act about Parliamentary Secretaries was annulled by the Supreme Court, Parliamentary Secretaries of Delhi were disqualified by the President.

It would be too early to assume that Manipur would go either of the two ways, Biren said.

Now it has been learnt that the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012 is a mistake.

That is why a Bill is being tabled to repeal the same Act as a responsible Government and politician, Biren continued.

The Chief Minister then urged the House to pass the Bill.


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