RTI Activist Seeks Disqualification of 9 Himachal MLA’s For Holding Office Of Profit

State governments dole out parliamentary secretary appointments in defiance of law binding executive positions at 15% of Legislative House strength

Where Kejriwal’s Delhi Government spars overs appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries, who are alleged to have held ‘office of profit’ at a time when being part of an extended cabinet, Nodia based RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya has lodged a complaint with Chief Election Commissioner of India seeking action against 9 Congress MLA’’s in Himachal, who are occupying the office of chief parliamentary secretary.

Flashing the complaint dated 15.6.2016 on his Facebook page, Bhattacharya writes, “it will be interesting to see whether the CEC will initiate the action in this case too as speedily and effectively was done in the case of AAP MLAs.”

“Action Taken Report on this complaint will be sought after 30 days through RTI,” says Bhattacharya.

In the complaint: Illegal appointment of chief parliamentary secretaries in Himachal Pradesh, the RTI activist after referring to the action initiated against 21 MLAs of AAP in Delhi, points out the 2003 constitutional amendment of capping ministerial berths at 15 % of house strength.

gov-ofprofitIn Himachal Pradesh 9 MLA’s have been appointed as chief parliamentary secretaries, who are in excess of the number of ministers appointed, and they are paid salaries, office allowances and are allowed to fly National Flag on their cars along with a beacon light,” says Bhattacharya in the complaint to CEC.

He even mentions that the issue of appointment of parliamentary secretaries was agitated before HP High Court, which in August 2005 had struck it down with the observation, “Parliamentary Secretaries are usurpers of public office since their appointments did not owe their origin to any constitutional or legal provision. They have been appointed by a person not vested with the power of appointment.”

The order appealed before Supreme Court is pending since 2005 but the apex court had not stayed the HP High Court order till date.

And as the Law Ministry had opined that “Parliamentary Secretaries are de facto Ministers’ they should not be allowed to stay in office, says the activist.

Bhattacharya has asked the CEC to act, hold a speedy trial and disqualify the MLA’s on the wrong side of law from the state assembly.

“I’m sure that your office will take the same action on my complaint against these 9 MLA’s of HP for having office of profit as has been initiated against 21 Delhi State Legislative Assembly members,” he concludes.

With president Pranab Mukherjee on Monday refusing assent to a Delhi government bill for validating appointments of parliamentary secretaries, APP had turned around to point out double standards being applied as many BJP and Congress ruled states governments, which includes Himachal, had appointed CPS who were entitled to salary, perks and compensation.

Lashing out at the central government, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, at press conference on Wednesday accused the central government of misusing the office of profit law for ‘purely political’ reasons.

“What they do is legal, and when we do it, it is illegal,” said Kejriwal.

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