Source: News Bharati English08 Sep 2016 16:05:10

New Delhi, Sept 8: The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the decision of the Arvind Kejriwal government of the Aam Adami Party to appoint 21 parliamentary secretaries.

Kejriwal had appointed these 21 MLAs of AAP as parliamentary secretaries on March 13, 2015, by an order. This order was later challenged in the court.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal passed the order after the counsel appearing for Delhi government “conceded” that the order dated March 13, 2015, was issued without taking concurrence or views of Lieutenant Governor.

The Centre had cleared its position on the matter before the court by stating that as per the legal provisions, there is no scope for appointing 21 parliamentary secretaries in Delhi. Under the prevailing law, only one parliamentary secretary can be appointed who will work under the chief minister.

Senior advocate Jasmeet Singh who represented the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had on July 13 opposed the appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries by the Aam Aadmi Party government, saying the post neither finds place in the Constitution, nor does it find a place in the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act of 1997, except for the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had told the court that such an appointment was “not covered by the law.”

In its affidavit, MHA had also said that Delhi government had tried to legalise the appointment of the 21 parliamentary secretaries by amending the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, but the President has withheld his assent to the measure.

The AAP government had told the court that no office akin to the Council of Ministers has been created and no additional hierarchy was being imposed upon the legislative assembly.

It had also stated that the parliamentary secretaries were not given any access to confidential documents which are exclusively within the domain of the Minister.

Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, who appeared for Delhi government, referred to the August 4 judgement passed by the High Court which had quashed several notifications issued by AAP government on the ground that they were issued without taking concurrence of the LG.

“Today I have to concede that the judgement (of August 4) stands against me (Delhi government),” Nandrajog told the bench.

Taking into consideration the submissions advanced by the Delhi government, the bench said, “the impugned order of the GNCTD is set aside.”

During the brief hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain told the bench that the Election Commission was also seized of the matter pertaining to the appointment of 21 legislators as parliamentary secretaries.

The NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha had claimed in its plea that the Chief Minister had issued “unconstitutional and illegal order” in gross violation of the constitutional provisions and the Transaction of Business of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi rules, 1993. Denying the NGO's allegation, the Delhi government had said it was not bypassing the statutory functions of the LG.