Two months after Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore returned the Punjab government file without giving his assent to Office of Profit Bill, 2019, five advisers to the CM met him Tuesday evening and submitted their resignations from their posts. The Bill was brought in to exclude six ruling Congress MLAs appointed as the advisers to the CM from the office-of-profit category.
The government had appointed Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon alias Kiki and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Inderbir Singh Bolaria political advisers to the CM. Kuljit Singh Nagra and Tarsem Singh DC were appointed advisers (planning). All the six were given the rank and status of Cabinet ministers.
While Raja Warring submitted his resignation a few days ago, the rest met the CM last evening with their resignations. The CM is learnt to have refused to accept their resignations and asked them to wait for Governor’s nod to the Bill.
The Governor returned the file in December and asked the government to reply to a set of questions on whether these MLAs would actually hold the office-of-profit or not, and whether the government would provide them perks associated with the posts.
The government has since then not been able to respond to the questions by the Governor. The Department of General Administration had sent the file to Advocate General Atul Nanda asking him for his legal advice. But Nanda has also returned the file to the Chief Minister without any advice. It is learnt that the CM and Nanda had a verbal discussion on the issue.
An adviser, on condition of anonymity, said, “We met the CM last evening. We told him that we are senior legislators and we should only be asked to get to work only when the legislation will stand the scrutiny of the court. We told him that long time had lapsed and it was better we quit. But the CM said that we should wait. Hence, we are waiting.”
While a debate is on whether their resignation could be considered as their appointment was never cleared by the Governor, an official said the government had issued them appointment letters, so they can always resign from their posts.
These advisers were appointed on September 10 after a few MLAs had started raising their voice against the government. They were allotted offices and staff in the Civil Secretariat. The Bill, passed by the state in November, had brought an amendment to The Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1952.
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