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Adelbert debated on Governor, not on Governor’s address

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Shillong, Feb 19: Participating in the debate on Governor’s address, VPP MLA Adelbert Nongrum on Monday raised reservation on Governor’s address in Hindi. He spoke close to three minute but did not come up with any statement on the address but repeatedly kept mentioning that Governor should have not addressed in Hindi.

Nongrum, who spoke in Khasi demanded that centre should recognise the need to appoint a Governor, who has language competency. The constitutional provision clearly specifies eligibility criteria for Governor, which reads as :

Article 57: No person shall be eligible for appointment as Governor unless he is a citizen of India and has completed the age of thirty-five years.

Nongrum pointed out Proviso to Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, wherein, a member is allowed to address the Assembly in their own mother tongue when the English version of the intended speech is provided to the Speaker and copies are circulated to members.

Nongrum said that this provision is not applicable to the Governor.

Nongrum’s observation is being viewed by many as ‘political stunt’, which his party tries to evoke through media attention.

The list of business for Monday was debate on Governor’s address, where several legislators took part and raised their concerns accordingly. However, North Shillong MLA failed to comply with the list of business to participate in the Governor’s debate.

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Article 210 – Language to be used in the Legislature

The Constitution has declared the official language(s) of the state or Hindi or English, to be the languages for transacting business in the state legislature. However, the presiding officer can permit a member to address the House in his mother-tongue. The state legislature is authorised to decide whether to continue or discontinue English as a floor language after the completion of fifteen years from the commencement of the Constitution (i.e., from 1965). In case of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura, this time limit is twenty-five years and that of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Mizoram, it is forty years.

The above article clearly specifies that Governor can address in Hindi.

MLAs are termed as ‘lawmakers’, in this case VPP MLA Nongrum tried to misguide the house by questioning and challenging as to why Governor had to speak in Hindi. As a lawmaker, Nongrum should had read different provisions and articles of the constitution before misleading the house and trying to create a narrative, which is anti-national.

On February 16, Governor Phagu Chauhan addressed the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in Hindi, due to his ill health, he did not read the full speech, however, the translation of the speech was circulated to all the members of the house. Speaker Thomas A Sangma had stated that the speech be considered as read.

The opposition VPP raised objections to the Governor’s address in Hindi

VPP Chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit expressed dissatisfaction advocating for a Governor who can speak a language commonly understood by the people of Meghalaya.

Interestingly, the North Shillong MLA who seemed to be aloof with Hindi language, has from time to time addressed election campaign in Hindi, and the party had also come up with Hindi manifesto.

Also Read: Centre sanctions Rs 681.62 Cr as land compensation for Shillong-Western Bypass: Tynsong

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