Appointment of Sanjay Awasthi, Sundar Singh, Ram Kumar Chaudhary, Mohan Lal Brakta, Ashish Butail, and Kishori Lal as Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Challenged by 12 BJP MLAs in Himachal Pradesh High Court

Shimla – In a significant development, the State High Court has rendered a decision in the contentious appointments of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS). The court has issued an interim order, prohibiting all CPS from availing ministerial facilities and engaging in ministerial responsibilities. Despite this, the CPS will continue to hold their positions.

The decision comes after a petition challenging the CPS appointments was presented before the court.

During the court proceedings, the government asserted that all CPS are operating within the bounds of the law. It was emphasized that the CPS, while receiving a higher salary than other MLAs in accordance with the law, are not utilizing ministerial privileges. The case is scheduled for further hearings on March 11 before the division bench comprising Justice Vivek Singh Thakur and Justice Sandeep Sharma.

State Advocate General Anup Ratna clarified that, as per the Himachal Pradesh Parliamentary Secretary Appointment Salaries Allowance Powers Privileges and Amenities Act 2006, CPS are already restricted from assuming ministerial roles. Notably, the rules governing CPS differ between Assam and Himachal Pradesh, providing no grounds for the removal of CPS based on Assam’s regulations. Drawing upon the precedent set by the Chhattisgarh High Court, the State Advocate General affirmed that the state’s CPS regulations align with Chhattisgarh, which has previously validated the appointment of CPS.

The backdrop of this legal saga involves 12 BJP MLAs, led by BJP leader Satpal Satti, challenging the appointment of various CPS. The petition specifically questions the appointments of CPS Sanjay Awasthi from Arki assembly constituency, Sundar Singh from Kullu, Ram Kumar from Doon, Mohan Lal Brakta from Rohru, Ashish Butail from Palampur and Kishori Lal from Baijnath.

As the legal battle unfolds, the court’s interim order marks a crucial juncture in the ongoing debate surrounding the role and entitlements of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries.