Less than 24 hours after the Punjab government appointed Aam Aadmi party leader and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha as chairman of a temporary advisory committee, a lawyer has filed a public interest litigation in the Punjab High Court and Haryana, calling the move “illegal”. arbitrary” and “in the exercise of non-existent laws of the state and central governments.
The plea, filed by lawyer Jagmohan Singh Bhatti has not yet been heard.
Bhatti, in his petition, argued that the appointment of Chadha, a member of Rajya Sabha and a “foreigner not in the state legislature”, to the rank of minister was in violation of the Constitution.
The Government of Punjab, through the Chief Secretary on July 6, issued a notification stating that the CM of Punjab “has undertaken a review of the functioning of government at various levels and is of the opinion that a body (of temporary nature) is bound to give advice” to the Government of Punjab on matters of public importance relating to public administration. “Therefore, it has been decided to form a temporary committee to advise the government of Punjab on matters of public importance relating to public administration as and when such advice is called upon,” reads the statement. the notification.
The mandates of the committee are such that it can be headed by a parliamentarian without violating the profit office rule. The chairman of the committee and its members will not be entitled to any compensation or remuneration. “They will not even be entitled to compensatory payments in refunds,” the notification adds. With the constitution of the committee, its president could participate in official meetings and give his advice to the government on paper.
Bhatti argued in his motion that the notification violated the constitutional mandate and amounted to a “parallel government within government”, which was not permitted.
He argued that the Chief Secretary had no authority to issue a notification regarding the temporary advisory committee. Its “mere reading shows that the CM is of the view that a body (of a temporary nature) is required to provide advice to the government of Punjab on matters of (unspecified) public importance,” the petitioner said, adding that it amounted to “inviting several people to manage the affairs of the so-called temporary and ad hoc committee”.
“Additional burden on the state treasury by providing the personnel and infrastructure has been created and the funds meant for the development of the Punjab state cannot be diverted under such camouflage,” he said. declared,
The petitioner mentioned that Chadha is “directly and indirectly linked to Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi party”.
He further claimed that “a rank of minister has been conferred” on Chadha. The petitioner argued that ministerial rank “equates to a place in the Cabinet which is not permitted by the Constitution and the same is illegal and arbitrary, as was done at the behest of the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal”.
Notably, after Chadha was named chairman of the advisory committee, opposition parties targeted the AAP-led government, accusing Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of “reasserting his status as a rubber stamp and making Chadha a de facto CM”.
Bhatti requested that HC instruct the Chief Secretary of Punjab that no financial advantage be given to the “unlawful President, his staff or his infrastructure” at the expense of the Treasury and that “his motion for disqualification may be ordered”. . He also sought to freeze the salaries, other financial benefits and facilities granted to Chadha and the members of the advisory committee.