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In a setback to ruling Congress in Meghalaya, the high court here today quashed a 2005 Act for appointment of parliamentary secretaries in the state.
A bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Ved Prakash Vaish also allowed the state governor to take a decision on the disqualification of 16 parliamentary secretaries as members of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
"The decision of the governor in this regard, on the basis of the opinion of the Election Commission, is final," the judges said in the verdict while disposing of a PIL filed against appointment of parliamentary secretaries.
Parliamentary secretaries are MLAs appointed by the state government to assist ministers.
The Meghalaya Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2005, is held invalid for want of legislative competence of the state legislature and is, therefore, struck down, the judges said in the verdict.
"As a necessary corollary, the notifications appointing the Parliamentary Secretaries and other follow-up actions are declared void, for having been issued and carried out under an invalid enactment," the judgement read.
The question on their disqualification as members of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly is left open for determination of the governor, the Meghalaya high court said.
The Congress government had initially appointed 18 parliamentary secretaries, but made two of them cabinet ministers earlier this year.
Of the 16, one has submitted resignation but the chief minister is yet to accept it.
Congress has 29 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.
Two independent MLAs had in August joined the BJP, which had no presence in the state legislature.
The state is heading for polls early next year.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)