Judiciary, Legislature and Executive on collision course
Assembly decides Chief Minister will not appear before the Court

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 23: Despite the standing order of Justice N Surjamani that the Chief Minister and two Government officials should appear before the Court in connection with a contempt case tomorrow at 10.30 am, the Assembly today decided that the Chief Minister will not adhere by the directives of the Court.

This decision was taken when the summon order of the Court came up for discussion during the afternoon session of the Assembly today.

Mention may be made here that the Chief Minister and the two high ranking Government officials, the Health Commissioner and Health Director, were summoned to appear before the Court as the Government had failed to appoint one person in the State Health Directorate under the die-in-harness scheme.

The Court had ruled yesterday that if the Chief Minister and the officers do not respect the summon order then the Court will take up a suo motu case and take up further contempt proceedings.

Referring to news report published in the local dailies, Opposition MLA O Joy moved a motion and observed that the ruling of Justice Surjamani has infringed upon the privileges of the House which amounts to contempt of the Assembly.

Going into the Constitution of India and Parliamentary practices, O Joy said that the Constitution provides a number of rights, privileges and immunity to Members of Parliament and State Assemblies to enable the representatives of the people to discharge their duties effectively.

There are provisions which have clearly laid down that no arrest or legal proceedings may be initiated against any Members of Parliament or State Assemblies 40 days before the session of the Parliament or Assembly and within 40 days after the session winds up, said Joy.

As the summon order has been issued despite these provisions and while the House is in session, it may be taken that the privilege of the Assembly has been violated, he observed.

The Opposition MLA further said the Chief Minister should not appear before the Court as the House will not allow it.

However if the Chief Minister is intent on going to the Court then he should first resign from his chair, Joy maintained.

Appealing to the House to support his motion, Joy urged all the members to take a House decision and to refer the matter to the Supreme Court through the President of India.

FCS Minister Ph Parijat said as the ruling of the Judge came in the midst of the Assembly session, it can be taken as infringing upon the proceedings of the Assembly.

He added that the Judge ought to be summoned to the Assembly.

Forest Minister C Doungel and IFCD Minister N Mangi said the Court ruling yesterday interfered in the proceedings of the House.

Opposition MLA Dr Nimaichand Luwang said that the Assembly Secretary should take up the matter for discussion as the ruling of the Court has violated the privilege of the Assembly.

He also questioned whether the Advocate General had intimated to the Judge that the House is in session.

Formerly a well known advocate and now the Law Minister, L Nandakumar called upon the members of the Assembly to take a decision not to let the Chief Minister appear before the Court.

As the Court ruling has hurt the privilege of the House let the Privilege Committee of the Assembly take up the matter and summon the Judge to the floor of the House, he added.

Opposition MLA and former Law Secy, L Ibomcha, former CM RK Dorendra and Opposition MLA S Ibohal all agreed that the ruling of the Court has hurt the privilege of the House.

After minute discussion and exchange of views and ideas the House decided that the Chief Minister would not appear before the Court under contempt case no 346/2000.