The case was related to the appointment of 21 CPS appointed in 2012 but during the proceedings, one died, one removed and one was taken in cabinet
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday set aside the appointments of 18 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPSs) appointed by the SAD-BJP government.
As many as 21 CPSs were appointed way back in April 2012 soon after the forming of Parkash Singh Badal-led alliance government in Punjab.
A Division Bench comprising Justice SS Saron and Justice Ramendra Jain delivered the judgment and allowed the two petitions which were filed against the appointments of the CPSs by advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti and advocate H C Arora. The judgment was reserved in July last year.
The advocates had challenged the appointments of the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries on the ground that there is no provision for such appointments in the Constitution.
The verdict is likely to have bearing on similar appointments made by the Manohar Lal Khattar Government in Haryana besides the six appointments by the Punjab government recently.
AS many as 21 CPSs were made respondents in these petitions. However, of these Sohan Singh Thandal was inducted as Cabinet Minister in the Council of Ministers, while Inderbir Singh Baloria was removed and Amarjit Singh Sahi was passed away.
At present, who were holding the posts of CPS are Chaudhary Nand Lal, Sant Balbir Singh Ghunas, Des Raj Dhugga, Harmeet Singh Sandhu, Mantar Singh Brar, Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh, Avinash Chander, KD Bhadari, Amarpal Singh Ajnala, Gurcharan Singh Babbehali, Virsa Singh Valtoha, NK Sharma, F Nesara Khatoon, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Parkash Chand Garg, Pawan Kumar Teenu, Sarup Chand Singla and Som Nath. All of them would lose their posts, as per the verdict.
The total number of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries in Punjab is at present 24 including the six appointments made in April this year. Thisnumber is more than its 18 cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Notably, Advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti has also challenged the appointments of these six CPS in April this year. The petition is still pending before a Division Bench and its hearing is fixed on August 24.
This order would also have bearing on the appointments of six CPSs petition against who is pending. The petitioners had stated that there was no provision of the posts in the Constitution and their appointments by the state is burden on the state exchequer. Both the petitioners said that this judgment would have the bearing on other such petitions.
Earlier, during the hearings of these petitions challenging the appointments of 21 CPSs, the High Court had directed the state government to inform the court about the perks and facilities being provided to the CPSs.
The petitioners had made contentions that there was no provision of the post of CPS in the Constitution and their appointments by the state is burden on the state exchequer as benefits such as salary, travelling expenses, salaries of the staff attached with them, medical bills, telephone bills and other facilities.
During the hearing of the case in the past, advocates appearing for the petitioners apprised the bench that earlier in 2005, the Himachal Pradesh high court had set aside the appointments of parliamentary secretaries stating it as unconstitutional. The petitioners had also pointed out that CPSs had been appointed in spite of the fact that no such post exists under the Constitution or under any statute or Act passed by Parliament or any state legislature.
It is pertinent to mention that advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti had also filed petition challenging the appointment of four Chief Parliamentary Secretaries appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana. This petition is also pending for adjudication before the division bench headed by Justice Saron.
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