Meghalaya officer to tender apology in assembly

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Shillong, March 20 (IANS) The Meghalaya assembly on Monday summoned a top municipal officer to appear at the Bar of the House on March 23 after he was found guilty of breaching the privilege of an Independent legislator, John Leslee K. Sangma.

Zenithsky J. Sangma, the Chief Executive Officer of Tura Municipal Board, was summoned after the house adopted a report of the Privilege Committee tabled by Independent legislator, Saleng A. Sangma, who is also the Chairman of the committee.

“I have carefully perused the report of privileges committee presented in the house on March 16 and have found that the committee after strenuous exercise and deliberation has come to an irresistible conclusion that Zenithsky J. Sangma is guilty of committing breach of privilege of John Leslee and the house,” Assembly Speaker Abu Taher Mondal told the legislators.

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Mondal said a warrant will be issued with a direction to the departments concerned and to bring Zenithsky to the house on March 23 as provided under Rule 171 and Rule 172 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the assembly.

Zenithsky will be the second person to appear at the Bar of the House after Prof. Kapila Chatterjee, who was the Editor, Publisher and Printer of Young-India, an English weekly for publishing a libellous news item, “The bark of ignorant mischievous politicians”, and an equally defamatory editorial, “Privileges of legislators and assemblies”.

Chatterjee appeared at the Bar of the House on April 4, 1973 and later withdrew it by bowing to the Speaker’s chair and to the two sides of the house.

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In its report, the committee unanimously recommended summoning and reprimanding the municipality officer in the house.

“He (Zenithsky) has to tender his apology in the house, failing which strong disciplinary action may be taken including termination of his service,” the Privileges Committee report stated.

“The punishment proposed by the committee to be meted out to him should also serve as a deterrent to other erring officials while discharging their duties,” the report said.

The municipal officer had filed “concocted” FIRs against the Independent legislator and summoned him to appear before the Tura Police Station.

“Summoning a member to the police station without proper justification is a breach of privilege of the member. Issuing press statements against the elected legislator has crossed all limits of decency and shown contempt for his superiors and for the established rules and procedures which is highly unbecoming of an officer,” the report stated.

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On February 19, 2015, Zenithsky had filed a first information report against the Independent legislator accusing him of preventing and obstructing the enforcement staff of the Tura Municipal Board on official duty and inciting mob violence.



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