Navjot Sidhu’s decision to continue with Kapil Sharma show challenged in high court
A Chandigarh lawyer has approached the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking a restraining order against cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s participation on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ on a private television channel.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist-lawyer HC Arora is listed before the bench of justices SS Saron and Darshan Singh for Friday. Arora has argued that a public servant can’t be allowed to do private business.
If Sidhu — local bodies minister in the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh — can be allowed to participate in a show, then the rules whereby government servants are barred from doing the business while in job should also be set aside, he has said.
He has cited that in the ’90s a full bench of the Andhra Pradesh high court had held that then chief minister NT Rama Rao’s participation in films was not appropriate as per his post, it is learnt.
It was on March 25 that Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda had opined that there was no conflict of interest between Sidhu’s office as minister and his working for television shows. Nanda had given his opinion after chief minister Amarinder had sought it following a controversy over Sidhu’s continuing with the show even as he was inducted in the cabinet on March 16. The advocate general had opined that there was no violation of the Constitution, the Representation of People Act, 1951, or the Code of Conduct in this case.
Arora had sent to the government several representation against Sidhu’s move. “Such conduct of the cabinet minister may fall within the four corners of ‘criminal misconduct’ under section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,” he has written, arguing that it would amount to misusing his position as a public servant (minister) to obtain for himself or for Kapil Sharma, or for Sony TV, some pecuniary (financial) advantage. “Mr Sidhu’s action may thus land the state government into a serious trouble,” Arora said in a letter to the chief secretary earlier this month, asking that the CM be told not to allow Sidhu to continue with the show.