Author Topic: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries  (Read 1925 times)

sheemar

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HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
IANS TOI| Aug 12, 2016
CHANDIGARH: Some six months ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday set aside the appointment of 18 chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSs) by the Parkash Singh Badal government.

The court ruling by a division bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Ramendra Jain is a major embarrassment for the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP ruling alliance and came on two petitions filed four years ago.

The post of CPS is one step lower than a minister and ruling party legislators are appointed on these posts by various state governments to accommodate MLAs since all cannot be made ministers due to a statutory ceiling of 15 per cent on ministerial berths vis-a-vis the respective assembly strength.

The CPS appointments were made by the Badal government four years ago after it assumed power in Punjab for a second five-year term in March 2012.

The petitioners, both lawyers, contended that the appointment of CPSs by the Badal government was "unconstitutional". They had pointed out that the state was spending lakhs of rupees of public money on paying for the salaries, perks and facilities of these CPSs.


Reacting to the court ruling, Punjab Congress President and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the order was "not unexpected as the Badal government had failed to follow proper procedure before appointing them".


"Obviously, the Badal government tried to circumvent the constitutional and legislative procedure by appointing the CPSs without following proper procedure and hence these were expected to be scrapped," he said in a statement.


Elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly are expected to be held in February next year.

Baljit NABHA

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2016, 08:22:40 PM »


High Court sets aside appointment of 21 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 12

In a major embarrassment for Punjab’s SAD-BJP government, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday set aside the appointments of 21 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries.

The ruling by the Division Bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Ramendra Jain came on two petitions filed by advocates Jagmohan Singh Bhatti and HC Arora.

In his petition filed more than four years ago, Bhatti had sought directions for declaring illegal and unconstitutional the holding of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries’ posts by the MLAs in Punjab.

Bhatti was also seeking directions for restraining the Finance Department from bearing the expenses of “illegal appointments, which were in violation of the 91st Amendment 2004 of the Constitution of India”. Directions were also been sought for the withdrawal of all the facilities extended to the respondent-MLAs “in the interest of the State, its people and its State Exchequer”. 

Bhatti had subsequently sought direction for directing the central government to dismiss the incumbent government “on the count of poor governance” and violating the mandate of the Constitution “while exceeding backdoor entries to their loyalists and burdening the empty government exchequers”.

Bhatti had claimed the appointments of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries in Himachal Pradesh was quashed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court. The SLP against the order was withdrawn.

He added the appointment of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries was previously also challenged by the BJP before the High Court. But the BJP-SAD government later appointed the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries in Punjab.

The high court, during the course of hearing, had directed the Punjab and Haryana to furnish the rules under which CPSs were appointed. The high court had asked the states submit a detail report on the job chart of the CPSs, their salaries and perks.

Another petition filed more than a decade ago challenging appointments of the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries in Punjab previously failed to come to a logical end after the appointees’ term ended before the petition could come up for final disposal.

The petition challenging the appointment of 11 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries was filed in 2004 against the Union of India and other respondents by the Lawyers for Social Action and another petitioner.

As it came up for hearing before the Bench observed “none for the petitioners” were present to argue the matter.

In its brief judgment, the Bench asserted: “Since, their term is over, the present writ petition has become infructuous. Dismissed as infructuous”.

Baljit NABHA

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 08:25:29 PM »
The appointments that will be affected:
Sohan Singh Thandal (Department of Irrigation)
Chaudhary Nand Lal, (Department of Forest and Wild Life and Labour)
Sant Balvir Singh Ghunas, (Department of Jails, Tourism & Cultural Affairs)
Des Raj Dhugga, (Department of Animal Husbandary, Fisheries and Dairy Development)
 Harmeet Singh Sandhu (Department of PWD)
Mantar Singh Brar, (Department of Rural Development and Panchayats)
 Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh (Department of Medical Education and Research)
Amarjit Singh Sahi (Department of Revenue and Rehabilitation)
Avinash Chander, (Department of Higher Education)
KD Bhadari (Department of Co-operation)
Inderbir Singh Bolaria, (Department of Education)
Amarpal Singh Ajanala (Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training Institutes)
Gurcharan Singh Babehali(Department of Agriculture)
 Virsa Singh Valtoha (Department of Water Supplies, Sanitation and Defence Welfare)
NK Sharma (Department of Industry and Commerce)
Nasaara Khatoon (Department of Social Security)
Navjot Kaur Sidhu (Department of Health and Family Welfare)
Parkash Chand Garg (Department of Food and Civil Supplies)
Pawan Kumar Teenu (Department of Sports and Youth Services and SC/BC Welfare)
Sarup Chand Singla (Department of Excise and Taxation)
Som Nath (Department of Local Government, Punjab Civil Secretariat)

sheemar

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 08:39:35 PM »

Baljit NABHA

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2016, 03:30:08 AM »

Baljit NABHA

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2016, 03:40:23 AM »

Baljit NABHA

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2016, 08:42:22 AM »

sheemar

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2016, 10:49:42 AM »
HC quashes appointment of 18 CPSes in Badal govt

    13 Aug 2016
    Chandigarh
    Surender Sharma letterschd@hindustantimes.com


18 MLAs APPOINTED BY BADAL AS CPS IN 2012 LOSE RANK, RULING TO HAVE BEARING ON SEPARATE PLEA CHALLENGING RECENT APPOINTMENT OF 6 MORE

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday quashed appointment of 18 chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes) in the SAD-BJP government of Punjab, ruling that they are acting as “junior ministers” in contravention of the Constitution’s intent to limit the council of ministers to 15% of the legislature’s strength. Further, the HC bench of justices SS Saron and Ramendra Jain — ruling on two petitions filed in 2012 — said that neither the governor nor the legislature has competence or sanction to frame rules regulating these appointments. “Such posts are not part of regular services of the state under the executive, forming part of the bodies involved in the governance of the state,” the bench said in its 71-page judgment, adding, that the appointments “are in fact a roundabout way of bypassing the Constitutional mandate… and, therefore, have to be invalidated”. In April 2012, after forming a government for the second consecutive time, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had appointed 21 CPSes, of whom 18 still held the office. As for the six CPSes added in April this year, their appointment is also under challenge, but in a separate petition that was filed after the order in this case had been reserved in July 2015. This order, however, will have a bearing on their fate too. “Admittedly, there is no post of Parliamentary Secretary or Chief Parliamentary Secretary in the Constitution,” the HC has expressly said.

In their petitions (public interest litigations or PILs), lawyers Jagmohan Bhatti and HC Arora had termed the appointment of CPSes as a violation of the 91st constitutional amendment of 2004 that put the 15% cap on size of the council of ministers under Article 164 (1A).

The matter had first come before the HC in 2005, wherein a challenge was laid to similar appointments at the time; and later in 2007; but due to prolonged hearings the petitions became infructuous as the tenure of the government got over in five years.

sheemar

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2016, 10:50:38 AM »

    13 Aug 2016
    Chandigarh

'WILL HAVE EFFECT IN HARYANA TOO'


The HC’s decision to quash CPS appointments in Punjab will have a bearing on similar appointments made in Haryana by the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government in July 2015. “More or less, the issues are the same. No government can circumvent the Constitution to make CPS appointments,” lawyer Jagmohan Bhatti, who is the petitioner in both states’ cases, said. The matter of Haryana comes up for hearing on August 24. Haryana has four CPSes: Shyam Singh, Bakhshish Singh Virk, Seema Trikha and Kamal Gupta. Appointments made by the previous Haryana government of the Congress led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda too were under challenge, but the petitions became infructous as its term got over.

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Re: HC quashes appointment of Punjab's chief parliamentary secretaries
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2016, 10:53:22 AM »
Blow to Badal and the politics of patronage

    13 Aug 2016
    Chandigarh
    Pawan Sharma pawan.sharma@hindustantimes.com

CPS REMOVAL Verdict was looming, but the timing is crucial ahead of polls; yet, can anyone claim to be clean in this?

CHANDIGARH: The much-awaited ruling of the Punjab and Haryana high court, setting aside appointment of chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes) in Punjab, deals a blow to the Parkash Singh Badal government’s politics of patronage. It has also laid bare the illegality that successive governments of the state have cleverly committed in violation of the Constitution.

The timing is significant, barely six months before the assembly polls are due. Already, the SAD-BJP government has been pulling out all stops to park politicians and powerful people in different boards, corporations and commissions by amending rules and increasing the number of posts. As the ruling says that neither the governor nor the legislature has “competence or legislative sanction” to frame rules on appointment and services of CPSes, this closes any door to appoint CPSes in future too via the state assembly.

The Badal government not only parked 24 MLAs as CPSes, but there are about two-dozen non-elected people given status of minister or CPS — an illegality in light of this verdict.

The ruling, sources said, will be challenged in the Supreme Court, though advocate general (AG) Ashok Aggarwal only said, “The government will decide the next course of action.”

IMAGE CRISIS

With the assembly elections due early next year, the poll code of conduct is likely to come into force by December, so the ruling will not hurt the SAD-BJP much in this term. But these CPSes will have to bear the stigma of being sacked by the court — adding to a crisis of bad image that this government has been battling in view of 10 years of incumbency.

The ruling brings under the spotlight how the government devised a “roundabout way” of bypassing the Constitutional mandate. The 91st constitutional amendment of 2004 caps the size of the council of ministers at 15% of the House strength at both central and state level. Punjab assembly has 117 members and there are already 18 ministers, including the chief minister. CPS post was a means to placate those unable to get a slot. Of the 18 CPSes sacked immediately, 15 are from the SAD and three from BJP. This judgment will also have a bearing on the fate of six other CPSes – four of the SAD and two of BJP— who were appointed this year. The high court is hearing a case on that too.

WHO STARTED IT?

“Every CM wants to keep his flock together. These appointments fly in the face of the constitutional amendment. You are giving them pays and perks of minister without calling them minister. This is unfortunate,” a former Punjab chief secretary said. More significant was the questionable practice of files being routed through them. They are attached with ministers but in some cases the ministers had refused to share the files. The logic here is that these CPSes do not take any constitutional oath of secrecy.

All political parties are sailing in the same boat on the issue. Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh was quick to blame the government for having “failed to follow the procedure”. But it was the last Congress government (2002-07) led by Amarinder that set the tradition of appointing CPSes in spite of the Constitutional amendment. By a May 2006 notification, it framed the Punjab Parliamentary Secretaries and Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (Terms and Conditions of Appointment) Rules 2006. Technically, an MLA cannot hold another office of profit, but in 2006 the Vidhan Sabha took the CPS post out of the ambit of that law.

Haryana also has CPSes, while in Himachal Pradesh such parliamentary secretaries were appointed by changing the law after a court quashing.

 

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