After Communist Party of India (CPI) Manipur state council, Congress party on Saturday demanded immediate removal of Manipur Social Welfare minister Okram Henry.
Henry is holding the post of cabinet minister without him being a member of Manipur Legislative Assembly for the last six months. He became the cabinet minister after resigning as Congress MLA from the state Assembly before joining the BJP six months ago. He was among the five cabinet ministers inducted by chief minister N Biren Singh while affecting a major reshuffle in the BJP-led coalition government on September 24, 2020. The six months period in which a non-legislator is allowed to be minister expired on March 24 last.
“The Manipur Governor has failed to exercise her obligatory function provided under Article 164 (4) of the Indian Constitution while allowing Henry to enjoy the ministerial berth”, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) alleged, during a press conference held at Imphal Congress Bhavan on Saturday. “Allowing Henry to continue as cabinet minister is violation and an insult to the Indian Constitution”, said general secretary of MPCC, S Jiten.
He quoted the Article 164 (4) of Indian Constitution which says, “A minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the legislature of the state shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a minister”.
Also attending the press conference, chairman of legal department of MPCC, N Jayantakumar said that by allowing Henry to continue as minister, the BJP-led coalition government in the state broke the rules and regulations laid down in the Constitution. He alleged the incumbent government of violating the Constitution since the very inception of the government while recalling how BJP formed the government in 2017 sidelining the single largest party (Congress) after the general elections to the state Assembly.
“Not only this, the incumbent government violated the constitution by offering a ministerial berth to an MLA who won the election from Congress ticket and failing to disqualify the 12 legislators of the ruling parties who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries”, he added.
While demanding immediate removal of Henry as cabinet minister, Jayantakumar added that a non-elected member cannot be re-appointed as minister after completing his six months term.
Earlier on Friday, the CPI Manipur state council while raising the same matter of Okram Henry continuing as minister had demanded his resignation or his removal by the Governor immediately.