Skip to main content

Gujarat CM plans to appoint parliamentary secretaries; Congress leader warns: I will drag you to court

By Our Representative
In a move that has made Opposition Congress raise eye-brows, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has begun consultations to appoint parliamentary secretaries, allegedly to manage "growing dissent" in the party because of failure to satisfy all the groups -- caste and regional -- seeking ministerial berth.
Talking with Counterview on the sidelines of a media conference on the issue, Congress' all-India spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil revealed, things have gone so bad that BJP MLAs have been frankly discussing with Congress leaders about how Rupani is trying to assuage the MLAs' dissatisfaction by making this offer.
"At least two senior BJP MLAs, whose names I would not like to reveal, have approached me to find out whether the offer, if accepted, could be challenged in the court of law. I have told them, in the light of the Supreme Court judgment of July 2017, no state government can appoint parliamentary secretaries. The judgment bars states to even enact law on this", Gohil said.
If the ruling party's appoints parliamentary secretaries, it would be considered is illegal, as under the law, it cannot appoint more than 15% of its MLAs' strength as ministers. Holding the office of parliamentary secretaries over and above the 15% MLAs' strength would amount to giving them the right to enjoy salaries and perks equal to a minister, as also peruse files.
The MLAs as parliamentary secretaries would, therefore, be holding "office of profit", as their appointment would be in conflict with their duties and interests as elected members.
Himself a senior Gujarat High Court advocate, Gohil said, "I warned these MLA, that if Rupani decides to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries in Gujarat, I would challenge it in the court, as it would be a contempt of the Supreme Court judgment. The judgment is absolutely clear: It bars any such appointments under whatever circumstances."
Pointing out that he has already written a letter the Gujarat governor telling him how the move is "undemocratic and unconstitutional", Gohil insisted, "The governor should not allow the chief minister to go for this undemocratic and unconstitutional extension of his government."
"In my letter to the governor, I have placed all the legal facts as elaborated in the Supreme Court judgment and constitutional amendment", he said.
The Supreme Court judgment was in response to a 2005 public interest litigation (PIL), in which a three person bench ruled that the concept of parliamentary secretary with powers and salaries like minister was unconstitutional and state governments have no power to frame any law about this. I will surely win the case."
Gohil's tough stance comes amidst a raging controversy around the Election Commission of India (ECI) disqualifying 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in "violation" of the apex court order. The previous Gujarat government, also under Rupani, had 11 parliamentary secretaries.
Addressing the media for the first time after his surprise defeat in the Gujarat state assembly elections, held last month, Gohil said, "Jumbo ministries have become a matter of the past as both the houses of Parliament passed a bill restricting the size of the ministry to 15% of the total number of MLAs of a state."
"This has been made a law as the President has cleared it. Now, no government can appoint parliamentary secretary, nor it can have ministers more than 15% of the strength of the House", the senior state Congress leader said, adding, "Despite such clear picture, the Rupani government is planning to induct parliamentary secretaries."

Comments

K SHESHU BABU said…
Appointments of personal secretaries by various governments have been done to appease politicians. While some parties like AAP have been questioned, other parties have not been asked to explain reasons. This is double standard. The Supreme Court should lay down standard directives so that every party in power follows the set guidelines

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.