SHILLONG, March 23 - Meghalaya Assembly today dropped all cases against a State Government official after he apologised and was reprimanded for breach of privilege, but not before an Opposition member walking out saying he disapproved of such public apology.
The official, Tura Municipal Board Chief Executive Officer Zenithsky J Sangma, was brought to the bar of the House in the afternoon escorted by Marshals.
He was first asked to bow down before the House and take an oath by Speaker Abu Taher Mondal. The charges against him was then read out. �The House has charged you for committing breach of privilege against one of the members, John Leslee K Sangma, which led to breach of privilege and dignity of this House,� the Speaker said.
Under Rule 172 of the House, the Speaker then reprimanded the official �for gross breach of privilege� and then asked him if he would apologise before the House for his action. Sangma tendered his apology to the House.
After the apology by the official, the Speaker asked the House to express its mind, to which Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said this is the first such incident he was coming across in his political career although such summoning was done once before in 1973.
�Now, let this incident be a reason for all concerned to understand the power this House is vested with,� the Leader of the House said.
After the CM�s statement the Speaker disallowed other members, particularly, John Leslee to speak and dropped all charges against the official, but not before asking him to bow again to the chair, Treasury and Opposition benches. The official obliged and was allowed to go.
Earlier, before the official was being summoned into the House, Opposition National People�s Party member, James Sangma, rose and objected to the summoning. �I don�t want to go into the merits and demerits of the case, but I don�t agree with the method in which the official is being summoned and sought to be reprimanded,� James said.
However, the Speaker ruled that since the member didn�t raise the matter when the Privilege Motion was being moved, his stand cannot be accepted now since the House has adopted the Motion.
Then, the NPP legislator walked out of the House saying, he didn�t want to be part of such proceedings. Later, speaking to the media, James said that it is time that such �archaic� procedures are put to an end.
�Such public apology and humiliation is a thing of the past and we should not carry these into the present era. We need to be broad-minded,� he said.
The South Tura legislator approached the Privilege Committee after claiming in his complaint, that during a stalemate between the CEO and traders of Ringrey market, Tura in 2014, he was falsely attributed for instigating the traders. The Tura CEO has �tried to project the local MLA (disrespectfully addressed as one person) causing the situation,� the complaint of the South Tura MLA said.