SHILLONG | Sept 05, 2019:
The Privileges Committee of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Thursday summoned the Director General of Police (DGP), Home Secretary and Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) of East Khasi Hills vis-a-vis an argument which had taken place between a public representative and the Dy SP over tinted glasses on August 7.
The Committee lambasted the Traffic Police department for “diverting” and “blowing” the issue out of proportion and going out in the public domain without knowing the reasons for the issuance of the summon notice.
It may be reminded that on August 7, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Walsall Momin stopped the vehicle of Congress MLA from Rambrai-Jyrngam, Kimfa Sidney Marbañiang in Motphran area for using tinted glasses without proper authority.
“Even before the subject matter was taken up in the privileges committee, it was out. The reason why the committee had summoned the officer was not about the tinted glass but it was about the behaviour of the Dy SP. But the issue was diverted,” Chairman of the Privileges Committee, Saleng A Sangma told media persons here today.
The Committee also blamed the SP (Traffic) Bikram D Marak for divulging in the public on the proposed action to be taken by the Committee without knowing the reasons for the issuance of the summon notice.
“The issue has flared up in all the media sections including certain sections of the NGOs thus inciting and tarnishing the image not only of the MLA from Rambrai-Jyrngam but all the MLAs of the state,” said member of the Privileges Committee and Congress MLA, HM Shangpliang.
Shangpliang informed that the SP Traffic himself has violated the privileges and therefore this committee will sit again to examine the actions of the senior police officer.
Meanwhile, it was informed that the DGP, who claimed that he was not aware of the situation, told the Committee that he will conduct a departmental inquiry into the matter.
The DGP and Home Secretary were also asked to brief on the behaviour, awareness and sensitization of the officers towards the elected representatives.
The MLA from Rambrai-Jyrngam, Kimfa S Marbaniang also appeared before the Committee today to place his statement whereby he stated that he felt insulted by the action of the Dy SP.
Marbaniang told the Committee that while he was stuck in a traffic jam in Motphran area, suddenly there was a loud knock on the window of his car. The officer on duty (Momin) supposedly shouted at the MLA for using tinted glasses and that he was supposed to remove it. An altercation erupted between the two which lasted for about 10 minutes.
However, inspite of introduction, it was alleged that Momin went on in a very rude manner towards the MLA.
“Marbaniang reported to the committee that he felt very insulted that while many people knew he was an MLA, surprisingly, the police officer refused to acknowledge the fact that he was an elected representative,” Shangpliang said.
Shangpliang informed that Momin appeared today and has tendered his apology to committee “but this committee will examine and think whether the apology will be considered or not,” he added.
The Dy SP has been asked to appear again tomorrow (September 6) at 3 pm with an apology letter after which the committee will again review whether or not to accept it.
When asked to comment on the main reason behind the entire episode being “the use of tinted glass”, Sangma said it is clear that tinted glass is banned but the Supreme Court ruling also states that “the appropriate government is free to make any regulation that may be considered appropriate in this regard.”
Recalling an executive order on tinted glass passed by the previous government, Sangma said in the last term, there was an executive order wherein MLAs were asked to submit their vehicle numbers for which some kind of executive order for exemption of the rule would be provided.
“Whether the order is still in force or not, I am not very sure,” said the Committee Chairman adding that they would follow up with the present government so that this confusion is cleared in the minds of the public, police and legislators.
He said that the Committee will again ask the government to review this particular executive order and again issue fresh exemption to the MLAs if they feel they require it.
It may be mentioned that VIPs are allowed to use tinted glasses if they possess exemption certification from the State Security Commission and the recommendation for using tinted glass even for vehicles used by VIPs enjoying Z+ or Z-category security has to be given by the Security Commission.