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Clarify stand on CPS, PS, says SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 10
The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to take a clear stand on the issue of appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries by various states, specially Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat akin to Himachal Pradesh where it was struck down by the state High Court for “circumventing” the 91st constitutional amendment on downsizing the ministries.

Not satisfied with Centre’s submission that it has no role in such appointments, the Court said the 91st amendment in Article 164 had been made with a view to downsize the ministries and the appointment of a large contingent of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) would “defeat” the purpose.

“If this is the stand for amending the Constitution, you can go back to Parliament and amend it again… there is no point in circumventing the law,” a Bench of Chief Justice Y.K Sabharwal, Mr Justice C.K Thakker and Mr Justice R.V Raveendran told Centre’s counsel R. Mohan.

In view of the Centre trying to put the onus on the states, the Court directed it to submit a reply within two weeks making its stand clear. It pointed out that the H.P High Court had come to the conclusion that the appointments of CPS and PS by the state Chief Ministers, was an attempt to “circumvent” the amendment.

The strong remarks were made by the Court during the hearing of an appeal of the Himachal Pradesh Government against the High Court order, quashing the appointments of eight CPS and four PS in August last year.

Senior advocate K.K Venugopal, appearing for Himachal Government, said it supported the stand of CPS and PS, who had also filed special leave petitions against the High Court verdict, challenging it on the ground that their appointments could not be equated with those of ministers.



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