Dehradun: The Uttarakhand High Court has issued a notice to the state government seeking an explanation on the appointment of 12 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries and allocation of Cabinet rank and facilities to them allegedly in violation of constitutional norms.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bisht issued the notice yesterday after admitting a PIL filed by state BJP general secretary Prakash Pant challenging the appointments.
The appointments were made in February 2013 and within a couple of months, the parliamentary secretaries were empowered through a government order to discharge all parliamentary and administrative duties and provided vehicles fitted with hooters and red beacon, besides all other facilities enjoyed by Cabinet ministers, the petition claimed.
As the High Court served notice to the state government, Pant held a press conference here demanding revocation of the "unconstitutional" appointments and recovery of the "huge amount of money" spent over providing ministerial facilities to the Parliamentary Secretaries.
He alleged that the appointments were made in violation of the 91st amendment and Article 164(1)(A) of the Constitution which limits the size of a state cabinet to 15 percent of the total strength of the state Assembly.
"Uttarakhand has a 70-member Assembly and the size of the state Cabinet as per constitutional provisions should not exceed 11 ministers."
"By appointing 12 parliamentary secretaries of Cabinet rank, the state government has clearly violated the 91st amendment and Article 164 (1)(A) of the Constitution of India," Pant said.