Less than a year after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the appointment of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) appointed by the previous Punjab government, the recently sworn-in government led by Captain Amarinder Singh has decided to bring in a legislation for the appointment of parliamentary secretaries to be attached to various ministers. A statement issued by the CMO said the government proposed to introduce a Bill to appoint parliamentary secretaries who could be groomed by the ministers for the future.
“India is a young country and such a move would help youngsters learn the ropes so that they can take over the reins of governance in the next few years,” Amarinder was quoted saying in the statement.
The HC had in August 2016 cancelled the appointments of 21 CPSs of the previous government calling these illegal appointments, which were in violation of the 91st Amendment 2004 of the Constitution of India. Besides, the appointments were controversial as they involved burden on the state’s exchequer already facing fund crunch.
The Amarinder’s government has already ruffled feathers by appointing 13 advisers and OSDs.
RTI activist and lawyer HC Arora, who had challenged the previous government’s move in the HC, said he would move court again. He said PS was an extra-constitutional post since it did not involve oath of secrecy while files still go through them. Satyapal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, said there was no provision for the post of PS. “These are unconstitutional. I am not aware as to what kind of legislation they would be bringing in. It will depend on whether it would be legally tenable or not,” he said.