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On Resignation Of Seven Naga MLAs

The move of the seven Naga MLAs who have tendered their resignation is a self inflicting penance rather than a positive exercise of their democratic rights as people’s representatives if the present quandary is not elevated. It is open ended. Ever since their resignation bid, it was left to the satisfaction of the Speaker in whose responsibility lies the onus to accept or not to accept the resignation of the MLAs or so it seems.

Since nothing substantial has been pronounced by the Speaker so far despite his assurance on the floor of the House, a public scrutiny in this regard is timely and pertinent. According to the press report and related documents the 7 Naga MLAs conveyed their desire to resign from their post to the assembly Speaker while they were still camping in Delhi save Tenny Shaiza MLA 44A/C Ukhrul Constituency who was in Imphal.

The Speaker summoned the seven Naga MLAs in his presence for his satisfaction that the resignation is ‘voluntary and genuine’. Consequently the MLAs are reported to have gone to the Speaker and authenticated their decision to resign from their post as MLAs. The seven Naga MLAs have approached both the State and Central leadership including the Governor of Manipur in this regard. Everybody is aware that Shri. O Joy Hon’ble MLA had abstained two days from the recently concluded Budget Session seeking a concrete decision of the Speaker on the resignation issue. Nothing has been forth coming as of now. So appears that the Assembly Speaker is foisting the seven Naga MLAs to linger.

What will be the current position of the MLAs? Can we blame them of being reprobates all along if they still indulge in writing ‘recommendations’ for schemes and other developmental projects of the Government in the capacity of an MLA? Certainly in the eyes of the Law they are as MLAs as any other MLAs in the assembly for the simple reason that their resignation has not been accepted by the Speaker. Why? How do they get out of this morass? Here is my humble opinion for a healthy public debate.

Let’s take a look at what the ‘Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Manipur Legislative Assembly‘ says. According to Chapter XXV Article 315(i) a member who desires to resign his seat in the House shall intimate in writing… and shall not give any reason for his resignation. If our MLAs had cited reasons as reported in the local newspapers like the incident at Mao Gate on 6th May 2010, Prime Minister not giving them audience in Delhi etc, etc, then there is already a problem technically because the rules says ‘shall not give any reason for the resignation’.

Further 315(ii) of the rules of procedure and conduct of business provides the Speaker to accept the resignation immediately if he is satisfied that the resignation is voluntary and genuine and the Speaker to not have information or knowledge to the contrary. Was the Speaker not satisfied as to the genuineness and voluntariness of the resignation? Did he get any information or had knowledge contrary to the claim? May be so because as provided in 315(iii) of the rules of procedure and conduct of business the Speaker has not accepted the resignation of the 7 MLAs.

It is therefore the MLAs who should satisfy the Speaker that they have decided to resign voluntary without any pressure from within or without. Viewed from this perspective the onus of the resignation still lies with the MLAs themselves. Should they vacillate between their vision and the present difficulties they are wasting a fine opportunity to serve the people they represent.

Now only the Leader of the House or any other member may move that the seat of the 7MLAs be declared vacant if they are ‘absent without permission from all sittings of the House for a period of sixty days or more’. We know the State Assembly Election is coming again probably in the early part of 2012 and there might not be sixty days of sittings of the House within these Sixteen months or so. Where does that leave the seven MLAs? In the middle of nowhere perhaps.

*The article is written by Naochon Chamroy

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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