AAP leader Raghav Chadha's appointment as Punjab advisory committee chairman challenged in High Court : The Tribune India

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AAP leader Raghav Chadha's appointment as Punjab advisory committee chairman challenged in High Court

Challenging the appointment on more than 20 counts, petitioner-advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti contends that it is illegal, arbitrary and in exercise of non-existent laws of the state and Central governments

AAP leader Raghav Chadha's appointment as Punjab advisory committee chairman challenged in High Court

Raghav Chadha. File photo



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, July 12

Hours after the Punjab government appointed Aam Aadmi Party MP Raghav Chadha as the chairman of the state’s interim ‘Advisory Committee’, the move on Tuesday came under the judicial scanner with the filing of a petition in public interest.

Challenging the appointment on more than 20 counts, petitioner-advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti contended that it was illegal, arbitrary and in exercise of “non est” or non-existent laws of the state and Central governments.

Bhatti also contended that the appointment of Chadha, Rajya Sabha member from the state of Punjab and an “outsider not being a part of the state legislative assembly”, was also in violation of the Constitution.

It entailed unwarranted burden on the public exchequer, and amounted to “inviting multiple people to run the affairs of the alleged temporary and ad hoc committee to advise the government of the state of Punjab on the matters of public importance pertaining to the public administration”.

Bhatti said it rather amounted to a “parallel government within the government”, which was not permissible.

He said the “alleged” notification’s bare reading showed that the Chief Minister was of the view that a body, temporary in nature, was required to tender advice to the government on matters of public importance; the Chief Secretary lacked such power to issue “alleged letter which is termed as notification”.

He also submitted that a minister rank had been conferred on the alleged temporary and ad hoc committee with all facilities. “The person holding the minister’s rank is administered an oath, whereas in the present case there is no such administration of oath to respondent-Chadha.”

It was said that ministerial rank amounted to berth in the state Cabinet, which was not permissible constitutionally and was illegal and arbitrary; it was done at the instance of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and amounted to interference in the affairs of Punjab.

“The ministerial rank is meant only for the elected Members of the State Legislative Assembly the elected Members of the State Legislative Assembly cannot be deprived of their right for a berth in the cabinet,” he added.

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