Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had been discharging duties as ex-officio chief patron of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, in violation of its constitution.
HT enquiries revealed that chief patron Badal had also nominated president of the then NRI wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Surjit Singh Rakhra, and the then wing's vice-president Jaswinder Singh Dhaliwal as patrons of the the Sabha during his last tenure. This again violated the constitution, which mandated maintaining the sabha's 'non-political' structure. There are not two posts of patrons. Rakhra later won the assembly elections and became the minister but continued to hold position of the patron till date.
According to the constitution, the chief minister will be ex-officio patron with power to appoint a vice-patron. Badal, who happened to be its first patron, had appointed then finance minister Capt Kanwaljeet Singh as its vice-patron.
"Any constitutional amendment shall be carried out by a majority vote during a general house meeting. The constitutional amendment shall be approved by the patron," the constitution mandated.
But, the then CM Capt Amarinder Singh assumed the position of the chief patron and made the then cabinet ministers Avtar Henry and Amarjit Singh Samra as patrons without following the procedure. The post of vice-patron was also abolished illegally while the posts of chief patron and an additional post of patron were created without getting approval of the general house.
After retaining power in 2007, the Akalis went a step further by appointing two "politicians" as patrons, thus, violating basic concept of the sabha of maintaining it as a non-political platform.
Contrary to the constitutional provision that the NRI affairs commissioner shall be the ex-officio chairman of the sabha, the state government had appointed the then divisional commissioner, Rupnagar, Anurag Verma as its chairman. Verma is currently excise and taxation commissioner. B Purushartha, who is NRI affairs commissioner, has not assumed the charge of the sabha chairman till date.