Jaipur, Apr 21 - A single judge bench of the Rajasthan High Court has sought an explanation from the Chief Secretary and Principal Cabinet Secretary of the state for having 13 excess ministers as against a constitutional embargo. The explanation was sought following a writ petition by three BJP legislators, who are Vasundra Raje loyalists.
The move is being construed as a counter attack by the BJP after the arrest of its party MLA and chief whip in state Assembly Rajendra Singh Rathore in a fake encounter case.
It was contended by counsels for petitioner MLAs namely Kali Charan Saraf, Rajpal Singh and Ashok Parnami that as per the constitutional amendment of year 2003, there cannot be more than 15 per cent ministers in an Assembly of any state.
"There are only 200 seats as such 30 ministers are permissible but there are 27 portfolio ministers and 13 parliamentary secretaries have been elevated to the rank of ministers with no portfolio which is sheer misuse of power and wastage of public money," advocate R D Rastogi said to the court.
"Earlier, the court was not convinced but when we showed provisions of Article 164 that was amended to this effect in 2003 the court issued notice to seek explanation from chief Secretary and Principal Cabinet Secretary," said Rastogi.
The court however, refused to issue notice to the 13 parliamentary secretaries and directed that a copy of petition be also handed over to advocate general G S Bapna.
It was also contended by the BJP legislators that the Congress government is misusing its power and public money by making political appointments outside the Assembly and giving such persons status of cabinet ministers.
"The salary paid to ministers is borne on public ex-chequer," it was contended. PTI