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

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.