Court to hear plea against new Meghalaya chief minister

March 11th, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear Wednesday a plea challenging Meghalaya Governor S.S. Sidhu’s decision to install a Congress government in the state despite the party winning only 25 seats in the 60-member assembly. The petition was filed by former Lok Sabha speaker P.A Sangama’s son Conrad K. Sangama, a newly elected Meghalaya legislator. He questioned the governor’s decision to administer the oath of chief minister to Congress legislature party leader D.D. Lapang.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Tuesday assured former Solicitor General Soli J. Sorabjee of according urgent hearing to the petition on Wednesday after the government’s former law officer apprised the bench of “unconstitutional and partisan developments” in the state.

Sangma, in his petition, told the court that the latest assembly elections threw up a hung house with the Congress emerging as the single largest party with 25 seats, six short of simple majority.

He said that following the declaration of poll results, his 14-member Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), along with one Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, 11 of United Democratic Party (UDP), two of Hill State’s People’s Democratic party and five other independents cobbled up a post-poll alliance.

The poll alliance, known as Meghalaya Progressive Alliance and having support of 31 members, elected Donkupar Roy as its leader and met the governor to stake claim to form the government.

However, the governor, displaying a bias in favour of his parent party sought to install a Congress government instead.

Terming the governor’s decision “unconstitutional, illegal, highly irrational and a dereliction of his constitutional duty”, Sangma said that Sidhu also gave Lapang 10 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house.

The long time of 10 days by the governor was aimed at “enabling the Congress to indulge in horse trading and other unconstitutional means to survive the floor test”, alleged Sangma in his petition.

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