SC dismisses State Govt transfer petition in CPS case
Shimla, Nov 10
In a significant setback to the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government, the Supreme Court today dismissed the transfer petition in the CPS (Chief Parliamentary Secretary) case from the Himachal Pradesh High Court to the apex court. BJP spokesperson Karan Nanda announced the development, emphasizing the court’s rejection of the transfer petition filed by all six CPS.
According to Satpal Jain, the counsel for BJP MLA Satpal Singh Satti and others, a Double Bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice SVN Bhatti ruled against the transfer petition. The Himachal Pradesh government had sought to consolidate three cases related to CPS appointments pending in the state’s High Court with similar cases in the Supreme Court involving Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Punjab.
Senior Counsel Satpal Jain, representing the petitioners in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, confirmed the rejection of the transfer petition and remarked, “Himachal government had gone to the Supreme Court in the CPS case but could not get relief.”
Earlier, the counsel for the petitioner, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, had urged the court to combine the matter with similar petitions before the Supreme Court. However, Satpal Jain, representing the respondents, opposed this, arguing that the cases were not identical. The Supreme Court concurred, dismissing the transfer petition.
The Leader of the Opposition, Jairam Thakur, and BJP State President Dr. Rajeev Bindal applauded the apex court’s decision, characterizing it as a significant blow to the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal government has appointed six CPS. MLA Sanjay Awasthi from Arki, Sundar Singh Thakur from Kullu, Ram Kumar from Doon, Mohan Lal Barakta from Rohru, Ashish Butel from Palampur and Kishori Lal from Baijnath as CPS.
After these appointments, two petitions were filed in HP High court against the decision, where by one petition by a NGO PERGO was already pending in the court, beforehand. Among the three matters pending before the High court are of 11 BJP MLAs, a NGO People for Responsible Governance organization and a woman those who challenged the CPS appointment.
In the petition by PERGO, the appointment of CPS has been termed as unconstitutional and against the article 164. According to the amendment in Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, the number of ministers in any state could exceed 15 percent of the total number of MLAs. After the appointment of CPS in the state, the number of ministers has increased by more than 15 percent. According to the organization People for Responsible Governance, the appointment of CPS should therefore be cancelled. It has been alleged that all the CPS are posted on office of profit as they are being paid Rs 2,20,000 per month as salary and allowances.
The petition has sought repeal of the Himachal Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary, Allowances, Powers, Privileges and Facilities) Act, 2006.
In the petition, Deputy Chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri and senior officers of Rajbhavan, state government are also made party by the 11 BJP MLAs. Earlier the Dy Chief minister had filed an application before the Himachal Pradesh High court to remove his name as a party. But High court on October 16 rejected the Dy CM’s plea and said that he could not be removed as petitioner has given sufficient material on record to challenge the state appointment of Dy CM.
“ Now the matter is listed in HP High court on December 7, informed Karan Nanda.
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