BJP welcomes court rap against cabinet status to Goa MLAs

January 23rd, 2009 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 23 (IANS) Main opposition Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) Friday welcomed the Bombay High Court’s verdict that the appointment of two ruling alliance legislators as parliamentary secretaries with cabinet status was “unconstitutional”.”The conferring of cabinet status to win over legislators defeated the basic aim of a small cabinet,” Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar told reporters here.

He said the two MLAs - Francis Silveira of Congress and Nilkanth Halarnkar of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - were elevated to the rank of parliamentary secretaries and were accorded cabinet status by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat as a means of political pandering.

The Bombay High Court’s Panaji bench Thursday termed the state government decision as a “colourable exercise of power”, and said it was executed with “undue haste to accomplish a political wish”.

The division bench comprising Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice N. Britto called the government’s decision “arbitrary, unjustifiable, unconstitutional and served no public interest”.

In a blistering observation, the court remarked that the motive to appoint parliamentary secretaries was only a means to create a political balance by accommodating elected MLAs.

“Granting them rank and status of cabinet ministers is sufficiently suggestive of unjustifiable motive on the part of the authorities concerned and it entirely defeats the very purpose (of limiting the cabinet), even if it is assumed that such a power of appointment and administering oath indeed vested in the chief minister,” the ruling said.

The state government in an affidavit contended that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries was as per convention.

“The posts do not form part of the government and they have no executive power. They only assist the respective minister in course of his discharge of duties and functions,” the government maintained.

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