Akhil Gogoi
Akhil Gogoi

Guwahati: Sivasagar MLA and Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi on Thursday in a press meet came down heavily on Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Gogoi was reacting to Sarma’s recent comment on the role and powers of an MLA. On Tuesday, Sarma had said that the role of an MLA is confined to framing laws, while it is the duty of the ministers to implement them. He added that the MLAs would not direct the deputy commissioner or the superintendent of police. Instead, these district officials will only listen to him or his ministers. 

Reacting to Sarma’s comment, Gogoi said, “In the Seventh Schedule and Article 246 of the Indian Constitution, the roles and responsibility of an MLA is clearly stated. I urge the chief minister to go through the Constitution. As he said, he spoke based on prescribed law. But now, I demand him to reveal the particular law where it is written that the role of MLA is confined to framing laws.”

He said the MLAs have four prescribed powers in legislative, financial, executive and electoral matters. “As per the Constitution, it is written that the work of an MLA is not just confined to legislative matters, but they have power in executive matters too. The action of ministers is controlled by the legislation,” he added.

“The chief minister’s move to reduce and limit the responsibilities of an MLA is against the law, violates the judgments of Supreme Court and is not the protocol,” Gogoi added. 

He said the MLAs are made members and chairman in various committees and departments in their constituencies for smooth functioning and development of the area. “Despite being the chairman or member of any committee, if I can’t work, my role will be utterly irrelevant,” he said.  

Also Read: ‘Inappropriate’: Backlash over Assam CM’s remarks on Akhil Gogoi’s health

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, he said, “In Lok Prabhari vs State of UP case, the apex court said that the elected representative has a vital role in the democracy. They have an intrinsic connection with their constituencies and have a legitimate role to discharge in the meeting of development needs of their constituencies.” 

He asked Sarma to tender an apology on his statements and said, “If he [CM Sarma] can’t tell us the particular law which mentions MLAs are just confined to legislation, he will have to publicly apologise for disrespecting the MLAs.”

He also protested against the Assam government’s appointment of Guardian Ministers to every district. “They (Assam government) have appointed a Guardian Minister but where in the Constitution it is written. In which article or section of the law there is a mention of the Guardian Minister?” he asked. 

“We thought these ministers were appointed for developmental activity. However, after the chief minister’s comment, we got to know, these guardian ministers will run the district, and the MLAs will have no role.”

“It is an attempt to limit the responsibility of MLAs and put democracy in danger. Instead, it is an attempt to derail the democratic process and impose a dictatorship,” Gogoi said. 

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