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MLA vs officer: Amarinder says Badal setting wrong precedent

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Chandigarh, Sep 21 :

The standoff between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the opposition Congress over a spat between a Congress legislator and a woman civil servant is showing no signs of ending.

Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha and former chief minister Amarinder Singh Sunday said that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was setting a “wrong precedent” by ordering an inquiry against the Congress legislator by a commissioner-rank officer.

Amarinder Singh
Amarinder Singh

“Badal is belittling the institution of a legislator, who happens to be an elected representative of the people and comes above the chief secretary in the standard government protocol,” Amarinder Singh said.

Badal Thursday ordered a probe into an incident in which Congress legislator from Fatehgarh Sahib, Kuljit Singh Nagra, allegedly “misbehaved and used foul language” with a woman civil servant, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Pooja Syal Grewal.

The woman officer complained to the Fatehgarh Sahib deputy commissioner, alleging that Nagra misbehaved with her and used abusive language during a meeting over civic issues in Sirhind town.

Nagra, on his part, alleged that the SDM misbehaved with him in front of other people and undermined his position as a public representative.

He said when he went to meet the SDM over some civic problems being faced by the people, she reprimanded them from taking the issues to the legislator and told them to get in touch with her directly.

This angered the Congress legislator who objected to the statement.

Patiala Division Commissioner Ajit Singh Pannu has been asked to conduct the inquiry into the incident.

Accusing Badal of bowing to pressure of bureaucrats, Amarinder Singh said: “By marking an inquiry against a legislator to a commissioner-level officer, Badal is undermining the standard protocol that places a legislator above the chief secretary.”

Amarinder Singh wondered why Badal marked the inquiry when the assembly speaker “was already seized of the matter and has summoned everybody involved in the case Sep 24”.

“You have not only tried to belittle the institution of a legislator, but also tried to undermine the constitutional authority of the speaker of the Vidhan Sabha (assembly),” he said.

“It is not the issue of a Congress legislator but about the elected representatives of the people who may belong to any party. Only the speaker can inquire into the matter and he was already on the job.”

“By assigning a parallel inquiry to the commissioner, Badal has apparently betrayed his lack of faith in the constitutional authority of the speaker,” Amarinder Singh said.

Punjab Congress leaders have defended the party legislator, saying that the woman officer’s behaviour with him was uncalled for.

The Congress leaders have also submitted a complaint with assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal on this issue. They sought action against the SDM.

(IANS)