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Jalandhar

Posted at: Nov 9, 2018, 2:08 AM; last updated: Nov 9, 2018, 2:08 AM (IST)

NRI Sabha alleges govt intervention

The allegations

  • Members allege that the constitution has been amended in an illegal manner by the government to make the NRI Sabha, which is otherwise a non-government organisation, fall completely under the government norms and rules. In the amended constitution, the powers of the president have been cut drastically to make even some matters fall under the purview of the Punjab Chief Minister or the Principal Secretary of the NRI Affairs Department.
NRI Sabha alleges govt intervention
A view of the NRI Sabha in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 8

Members of the NRI Sabha, who have long been demanding the election for the post of the president, which are due for more than three years, have now alleged that their organisation has been hacked by the government officials.

The members have also alleged that the constitution has been amended in an illegal manner by the government to make the NRI Sabha, which is otherwise a non-government organisation, fall completely under the government norms and rules.

Ex-president Jasvir Singh Shergill said, “While the constitution could be amended in consultation with the central executive, the Chairman of the sabha (who is a Principal Secretary, Department of NRI Affairs, Punjab), made the amendments on April 28, 2016 at a time when there was no president and even the executive had been dissolved.”

In the amended constitution, the powers of the president have been cut drastically to make even some matters fall under the purview of the Punjab CM or the Principal Secretary of the NRI Affairs department. Earlier, most matters were in the jurisdiction of the president with Divisional Commissioner overseeing them.

For instance, while the constitution allowed the president to select members for central executive with the approval of the Chairman, the sabha will now have to seek a prior approval of the chief patron, who is the Punjab CM.

While the president in consultation with the chairman used to appoint the Executive Director, now powers for his appointment have been vested with the Chairman alone, with the president playing no role in the same.

Even the structure of the NRI Sabha staff and their qualification for the post has been amended. For instance, only a retired District Attorney or Deputy District Attorney will be able to serve as the law officer of the sabha. Even the office superintendent will have to be a retired superintendent from any government office.

Further, the powers of removing the existing staff of the NRI Sabha have been vested with the Chairman, in the absence of the president (as is these days with post remaining vacant for more than three years).

Principal Secretary, NRI Affairs, SR Ladhar, said, “If the members are not convinced with the constitutional amendments, a general assembly can be convened anytime to discuss the bylaws and make changes accordingly.”

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