In a major setback to the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party government in Punjab led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday quashed the appointment of its 18 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS), who were appointed in April 2012. The verdict came from the division bench comprising Justices SS Saron and Ramendra Jain while pronouncing its judgement reserved on July 28 last year.
However, the total number of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries in Punjab is 24, which is more than its 18 cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Six Chief Parliamentary Secretaries were appointed in April this year and the petition challenging their appointment is still pending in the high court. This judgement will also have bearing on the pending petition.
H.C.Arora senior lawyer and Jagmohan Bhatti advocate had challenged the appointments through PIL filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court contending the appointments illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary. Advocate Bhatti had also filed petition challenging appointment of 4 Chief Parliamentary Secretaries by the Bharatiya Janta Party government in Haryana. This petition is also pending adjudication before the division bench headed by Justice Saron.
It may be recalled that SAD and BJP have been opposing appointment of CPSs by Delhi Government led by Arvind Kejriwal and justified the appointments made by them in Punjab and some other states. The decision of High Court is major political setback for the alliance few months before the assembly elections in January 2017.
The court had earlier reserved the judgement. On Friday, orders pronounced and petitions allowed, appointment of 18 Chief parliamentary secretaries( appointed in 2012) quashed.
The list of CPSs who are axed are:
1. Sohan Singh Thandal (CPS), Department of Irrigation. (Already resigned)
2. Chaudhary Nand Lal (CPS), Department of Forest and Wild Life and Labour.
3. Sant Balvir Singh Ghunas(CPS), Department of Jails, Tourism & Cultural Affairs.
4. Des Raj Dhugga(CPS), Department of Animal Husbandary, Fisheries and Dairy Development.
5. Harmeet Singh Sandhu(CPS), Department of PWD.
6. Mantar Singh Brar (CPS), Department of Rural Development and Panchayats.
7. Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh (CPS), Department of Medical Education and Research.
8. Amarjit Singh Sahi (CPS), Department of Revenue and Rehabilitation. (Died in 2012)
9. Avinash Chander (CPS), Department of Higher Education.
10.K.D.Bhadari(CPS), Department of Co-operation.
11.Inderbir Singh Bolaria (CPS) Department of Education. (Resigned)
12.Amarpal Singh Ajanala (CPS), Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training Institutes.
13.Gurcharan Singh Babehali, (CPS), Department of Agriculture.
14.Virsa Singh Valtoha (CPS), Department of Water Supplies, Sanitation and Defence Welfare.
15.N.K. Sharma (CPS) Department of Industry and Commerce.
16.Nasaara Khatoon(CPS), Department of Social Security.
17.Navjot Kaur Sidhu(CPS), Department of Health and Family Welfare.
18.Parkash Chand Garg (CPS), Department of Food and Civil Supplies.
19.Pawan Kumar Teenu (CPS), Department of Sports and Youth Services and SC/BC Welfare.
20.Sarup Chand Singla (CPS), Department of Excise and Taxation.
21.Som Nath (CPS), Department of Local Government, Punjab.