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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Advisers’ appointment: Premature to assume financial burden, Punjab tells HC

chandigarh Updated: Sep 19, 2019 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustantimes
         

The Punjab government on Wednesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court it was “premature to assume” there was a financial burden on the state exchequer due to the appointment of six MLAs as advisers to the chief minister.

Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda informed the high court bench of chief justice Krishna Murari and justice Arun Palli that terms and conditions of their appointments were “not out yet”.

The submissions were made during maiden hearing on a public interest litigation filed by an advocate challenging the appointments of six Congress MLAs as advisers to chief minister Amarinder Singh.

The petitioner Jagmohan Singh Bhatti, who had filed plea last week, has pleaded in his petition that their appointments were a violation of the provisions of the Constitution (91st amendment) Act, 2003, which stipulated that the strength of cabinet ministers could not exceed 15% of total strength of members of the House.

Due to some factual errors in the petition, the court posted the matter for December 9, asking the petitioner lawyer to make changes by then.

Talking to reporters, after the hearing, Nanda said the advisers have been given status of a minister and there was a difference between a minister and somebody with that ‘status’.

During the hearing, the petitioner lawyer had sought a stay on the oath-taking ceremony of advisers.

However, Nanda told court that there was no such thing being contemplated.

Four MLAs -- Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon of Faridkot, Singh Raja Warring of Gidderbaha, Sangat Singh Gilzian of Urmur and Inderbir Singh Bolaria of Amritsar South --- had been designated as advisors (political) while the fifth one, Kuljeet Singh Nagra of Fatehgarh Sahib, had been designated as adviser (planning). All the five had been given the cabinet rank and status.

The sixth one --- Tarsem Singh DC of Attari -- had been given the designation of adviser (planning) with the rank of a minister of state.

First Published: Sep 19, 2019 01:30 IST

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