Rights groups slam Meghalaya MLA

Rights groups slam Meghalaya MLA

Agency News

Shillong, Sep 3: Two civil society groups – Civil Society Women’s Organisation and Thma U Rangli - in Meghalaya have condemned opposition Congress legislator, Kimfa Sidney Marbañiang for moving the Assembly’s Privilege Committee against a police officer who had asked him to remove tinted films from the glasses on his vehicle. On August 7, a team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Walsall Momin stopped the vehicle of Marbañiang, for using tinted glasses without proper authority. VIPs are allowed to use tinted glasses if they possess exemption certification from the State Security Commission.

However, Marbañiang did not have one but lodged a complaint with the Deputy Speaker Timothy Shira against Momin for “embarrassing a public representative”.
Last week, the Assembly’s Privileges Committee headed by Nationalist Congress Party legislator Saleng A. Sangma summoned Momin on September 5. In a joint statement issued on Monday, CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing and TUR leader Angela Rangad said, vehicles with tinted films are in violation of the Supreme Court’s order in the Avishek Goenka vs Union case.

They said the order of the Supreme Court banning the use of tinted glass on vehicles has clearly mentioned that “cases of persons who have been provided with Z and Z+ security category may be considered by a committee consisting of the Director General of Police/Commissioner of Police of the concerned state and the Home Secretary of that State/Centre.” It also stated that certificates should be provided only in relation to official cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security that such person has been awarded by the competent authority.”

“The public servant and representative, being a law-maker, should be aware of this and cannot misuse their power by hauling up an upright officer doing his duty as per law,” the NGO leaders said. They further said that the Committee on Privileges of the Assembly cannot drag in an officer or any other government officer or any public who are working within the law adding,“Equality before the law is paramount and should prevail at all times and for everyone.”

Asserting the need that the culture of “privilege and impunity” needs to end, the two NGOs said that it has become a common practice in Meghalaya that in order to overcome and abuse the supreme court judgement on red beacons, public servants including officers use sirens and violate traffic rules and zoom their vehicles even at the height of peak hours and traffic congestion which endangered citizens’ life.