Offices of Parliamentary Secretaries cannot be created by State Legislature

Supreme Court: In the case where the competence of Assam Legislature to make the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004 was in question, the bench of R.K. Agrawal and A.M. Sapre, JJ held that the State Legislature is not authorized to create offices of Parliamentary Secretaries.

Explaining the scope of Article 194 of the Constitution, the bench said that while clause (1) declares that there shall be freedom of speech in the Legislature subject to the limitations enumerated therein, clause (2) provides immunity in favour of the members of the Legislature from any legal proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by such members in the Legislature or any Committees etc. Sub-clause (3) deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of a House of the Legislature and its members with respect to matters other than the ones covered under clauses (1) and (2). Hence, it is clear that Article 194 idoes not expressly authorise the State Legislature to create offices such as the one in question.

Taking note of Article 187 of the Constitution, which makes stipulations even with reference to the secretarial staff of the Legislature, the Court said that on the face of such elaborate and explicit constitutional arrangement with respect to the Legislature and the various offices connected with the legislature and matters incidental to them to read the authority to create new offices by legislation would be a wholly irrational way of construing the scope of Article 194(3) and Entry 39 of List II. It was Stating that such construction would be enable the legislature to make a law which has no rational connection with the subject matter of the entry, the Court said that “The powers, privileges and immunities” contemplated by Article 194(3) and Entry 39 are those of the legislators qua legislators. [Bimolangshu Roy v.  State of Assam,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 813, decided on 26.07.2017]

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