HC stays fresh notice on removal to Mohali mayor Amarjit Singh Sidhu
The high court bench of justice Vinod S Bhardwaj acted on the plea from Amarjit, who had challenged the November 2 show-cause notice by the Punjab local bodies department
The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed a show-cause notice issued by the Punjab local bodies department to Mohali mayor Amarjit Singh Sidhu as to why he should not be removed as councillor.
The high court bench of justice Vinod S Bhardwaj acted on the plea from Amarjit, who had challenged the November 2 show-cause notice.
Amarjit, who is the younger brother of former Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, was previously removed as councillor on December 28, 2022, by the local bodies department that indicted him in a conflict of interest case.
By virtue of this, he also stood disqualified as mayor as well. But the order was stayed by HC on January 19, 2023. Elected as mayor in 2021, Amarjit and his brother had joined the BJP in June 2022, only to return to the Congress fold last month.
The fresh case of alleged conflict of interest is that as chairman of the finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the Mohali municipal corporation (MC), he participated in the process of allotment of a tender to “Landchester Infrastructure Associates”, of which he is a shareholder.
The allotment was of maintenance of two roundabouts —YPS Roundabout near Phase 7 another near Verka Milk Plant in Phase 6. Thus, the argument is that he violated Section 63 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, under which, a councillor cannot vote in a matter in which he has personal advantage.
In the earlier case, the allegations were that he presided over meetings as the F&CC chairman, where tenders were awarded to a society of which he was a member. The opposition had accused Amarjit of allotting 12 tenders worth ₹1.5 crore to Amritpreet Cooperative Society Limited, Phase 6.
Amarjit had argued that the entire evaluation and consequent recommendation was made by the committee constituted by the MC commissioner and F&CC only gave formal approval. He had also argued that since the government changed in the state, every possible tool was being used by present dispensation to remove him from the post of mayor even as he enjoyed 2/3rd majority in the corporation.
The high court, while staying the show-cause notice, has asked the government to respond by February 7, 2024. Proceedings in earlier case are also pending adjudication before the high court.