HC sets aside AAP appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries
The Delhi high court set aside the order appointing 21 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries on Thursday on the grounds that it was made without the lieutenant governor (L-G)’s approval.
The court’s decision came after the AAP-led Delhi government conceded that its appointment became invalid in light of the August 4 verdict of the Delhi high court that gave the L-G administrative control of the capital.
rocky soibam @_soibam
AAP govt admits 21 parliamentary secretaries appointed without LG's approval. DelhiHC dispose of case against their appointment @htTweets
12:44 PM - 8 Sep 2016
Chief justice G Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, that sought scrapping of the appointments, claiming it was “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction”.
The plea stated the chief minister had “no power, jurisdiction or authority” to administer the oath of office to parliamentary secretaries.
The Delhi government, led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, had appointed the parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries after taking power in February.
However, a Constitutional clause prohibits legislators or parliamentarians from holding any position with monetary or other benefits. Known as office of profit, the clause is aimed at reducing conflict-of-interest situations for public representatives.
It was the grounds on which President Pranab Mukherjhee refused to sign the bill that ratified the appointment in June.
The Delhi government however claimed the appointments will facilitate a smooth functioning. It also made it clear that the secretaries would not receive any remuneration or perks from the government, which meant the exchequer would face no additional burden.
The appointment order, however, permitted them to use government transport for official purposes and earmarked space in the ministers’ offices to help them in official work.
It further stated that the formation of the post did not amount to creation of a “public office”, and was meant “merely to assist the minister in connecting to the public and the rest of the assembly and ensuring a harmonious functioning”.
The court decision came on a day Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived in Ludhiana to a mass of disgruntled AAP volunteers who alleged party tickets had been given to corrupt workers.