HC to hear plea against AAP parliamentary secretaries

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it would hear on May 20 a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s move to appoint 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw said it would hear the plea on May 20.

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The PIL, filed by NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, questioned the appointments and sought the court’s intervention.

The PIL filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, central government and MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries asked the court to scrap the appointments, questioning their legal validity under provisions of the constitution and rules governing Delhi administration.

Soon after coming to power, the Kejriwal-led government issued an order to appoint 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries.

The government claimed this will facilitate smooth functioning but made it clear they will not receive any remuneration or perks of any kind from the government — meaning no burden on the exchequer.

The order, however, permits them to use government transport for official purposes and earmarked space in the minister’s office to help them in official work.

Seeking quashing of the order issued on April 13 by Kejriwal, the plea said the appointments were “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction”.

It also said that the chief minister has “no power, jurisdiction or authority” under the Constitution of India or any other legislative enactment to administer oath of office to parliament secretaries.

The PIL said the order issued by chief minister is invalid since all executive act ion or order issued by department of NCT Delhi are to be issued in the name of the lieutenant governor and authenticated in the prescribed manner.

It further asked for the court’s direction to restrain these MLAs from acting as parliamentary secretaries till the final adjudication of the case.

Some of the MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries by Arvind Kejriwal include Praveen Kumar to the education minister, Sharad Kumar to the revenue minister, Adarsh Shastri to the IT minister, Madan Lal to the vigilance minister, Charan Goel to the finance minister, Sanjeev Jha to the transport minister, Sarita Singh to the employment minister, Naresh Yadav to the labour minister, Jarnail Singh to the development minister and Rajesh Gupta to the health minister.