BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 27: Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal-led State government did not defend the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, in the Supreme Court which was declared unconstitutiol by the Apex Court on Wednesday. The Act was passed by the Assam Legislative Assembly at the behest of then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi ostensibly to accommodate some senior Congress MLAs, besides a few ministers who had to be dropped following downsizing of his cabinet — as Parliament had earlier passed the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003, that limited size of ministries and which came into force in July 2004.
The Congress government had then faced a lot of public criticism over appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries as it entailed spending of money from the public exchequer.
Sources said present government did not make any plea in the court against scrapping the controversial act. As per the Act parliamentary secretary was given the rank and status of a minister of state and exercised such powers, functions and duties as were assigned by the chief minister.
The Sonowal has so far also refrained from following the practice and not appointed anyone as Parliamentary Secretary.
About 50 Congress MLAs were rehabilitated as parliamentary secretaries between 2005 and 2016 causing fincial burden in State exchequer.