As the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi is itself in a spot over the appointment of chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes), the otherwise vitriolic Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is expected to maintain a stoic silence over the high court judgment.
The Delhi government had on March 14 last year appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries for the “smooth functioning of the government”. However, unlike Punjab, Delhi’s parliamentary secretaries are not eligible for any remuneration or perks from the government. They were only eligible to use government transport for official purposes and office space in the minister’s office.
To prevent their appointment becoming invalid, in June, the Delhi assembly passed an amendment to the ‘Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of the Disqualification) Act, 1997’ to insulate CPSes from getting disqualified because of their holding an office of profit. The Bill was forwarded by lieutenant governor of Delhi to the Centre, which in turn sent it to the President with its comments. The President refused to give his assent. The issue was referred to the election commission and is with it since. The appointment CPSes has also been challenged in the Delhi High Court.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had argued that the post didn’t fall under the ‘office of profit’ category as parliamentary secretaries were not receiving any financial benefit.
On June 30, AAP’s Punjab leaders had demanded “immediate disqualification” of the 24 CPSes appointed by the Punjab government. The party’s legal cell head Himmat Singh Shergill, made a formal complaint to the state chief electoral officer VK Singh about the “unconstitutional appointment” of 24 CPSes by the government.