Parliamentary secy posts don’t violate any law: Govt
NEW DELHI: The city government on Wednesday defended appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries before the Delhi high court, saying they are meant to “act as a bridge between the minister and his constituency”.
Opposing a PIL that has demanded scrapping of the posts on the ground that they are extra-constitutional, the AAP government submitted that no laws or rules are violated by the appointments.
Appearing for the government, standing counsel Raman Duggal urged the court to dismiss the PIL and informed it that the state assembly has already approved a law to ensure the parliamentary secretaries don’t flout the office of profit clause.
He also pointed out that the 21 AAP MLA’s don’t draw any salary from the government but are helping the ministers of Delhi cabinet in better discharge of their duties.
A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath then asked the government to file a response detailing its stand but refused to stay the appointments, saying there is no urgency in the matter.
The government’s stand came in response to an earlier notice by the court questioning the legality of the appointments.
In a petition filed by NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha it had alleged that the appointments are “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction”.
The PIL seeks quashing of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s March 13 decision, saying that he issued “unconstitutional and illegal order appointing 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in gross violation of the constitutional provisions of Article 239 AA of the Constitution of India and Section 44 (2) and (3) of the Transaction of Business of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993.”
“No prior sanction was obtained from the finance department regarding the expenditure to be incurred on the PS for using transport facilities and additional establishment cost and expenses as is mandatorily required under Transaction Business of the government,” the plea said.
Recently, in an RTI reply the General Administration Department said the appointment was done on the bases of a ‘note’ received from the office of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal dated March 5, 2015. According to the reply, parliamentary secretaries do not receive any remuneration or any perks of any kind from the government–meaning no burden on exchequer.
They, however, may use government transport for official purposes and space in the minister’s office would be provided to them to facilitate their work, it said.