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HP high court issues notice to state in matter of appointment of 6 CPS

Shimla, March 24

The Himachal Pradesh High court on Friday issued notice to the State of Himachal Pradesh ragarding appointment of six chief Paralimentary Secretaries (CPSs) in violation of the Apex court order which had declared such appointment illegal and unconstitutional.
A petition was filed before the division bench of justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Verinder Singh by a civil rights group ‘People of Responsibile Governance’  and the court has
 fixed the matter for further hearing on April 21. The petition challenged the recent appointment of six Chief Parliamentary Secretaries by the State Government.
Taking cognizance of matter, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has issued a notice to the state  summoned its reply.  PFRG has also urged the court to also arrayed all six Chief Parliamentary Secretaries as respondents in the petition.
The petitioner had also challenged the Himachal Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salary, Allowances, Powers, Privileges and Facilities) Act, 2006 in the year 2016.  Till now this matter is pending before the High Court.  The petitioner had also made the then nine Chief Parliamentary Secretaries as respondents.  Petitioner stated that  old government had changed in the state and new Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Sanjay Awasthi from Arki assembly constituency, Sundar Singh from Kullu, Ram Kumar from Doon, Mohan Lal Brakta from Rohru, Ashish Butail from Palampur and Kishori Lal from Baijnath should be made respondents in the application.  The petitioner also  argued before the court that the legislation passed by the Himachal Pradesh in 2006 for the appointment of Himachal is identical to the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries Act . The petitioner  also alleged that the state was fully aware of the Supreme Court verdict under which such  appointment of parliamentary secretaries in Assam and Manipur was declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Apex court.
Petitioner pleaded that despite this, state has appointed Chief Parliamentary Secretaries. It has been alleged that all Chief Parliamentary Secretaries are posted on posts of profit, which are paid Rs 2,20,000 per month as salary and allowances.  The petition has also sought to declare Himachal Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary, Allowances, Powers, Privileges and Facilities) Act, 2006 ultra vire to the constitution as court have power to review this legislation.
The PFRG has alleged in the petition that the appointment of CPPs is contrary to the provision of the law.  These people are taking salary and other facilities equal to the ministers, which is contrary to the decision already issued by the State High Court in a case. ” Not only this, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also held the appointment of parliamentary secretaries illegal.” Petitioner stated.
According to the amendment made in Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, the number of ministers in any state cannot exceed 15 pc of the total number of legislators.  Seeking declaring such appointment against the constitutional provisions of limited size of council of ministers petitioner said that after appointment six CPSs in the state, the number of ministers has exceed limit of 15 percent and thus should be quashed as is in violation of prevailing law provisions.


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