AAP Leader Raghav Chadha’s Appointment as Punjab Advisory Board Head Challenged in HC

The contentious appointment of Rajya Sabha member and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha as the chairman of the state’s interim advisory committee has run into rough legal weather with a Chandigarh-based advocate challenging the Punjab government’s decision through a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court.

Advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti while filing the PIL argued that the order is illegal, arbitrary, and in contravention of state and central government laws. Bhatti also contended that the appointment of Chadha, Rajya Sabha member from Punjab and an “outsider not being a part of the State legislative assembly”, is also in violation of the Constitution of India.

The PIL stated that the appointment also puts unwarranted burden on the public exchequer, and amounted to “inviting multiple people to run the affairs of the alleged temporary and ad hoc committee to advise the Government of the State of Punjab on the matters of public importance pertaining to the public administration”.

The petitioner also alleged that it is akin to a “parallel government within the government”, and the chief secretary lacked such power to issue an “alleged letter which is termed as notification”.

He also submitted that a minister rank has been conferred to the alleged temporary and ad hoc committee with all facilities. “The person holding the minister’s rank is administered an oath, whereas in the present case there is no such administration of oath to respondent Raghav Chadha,” says the plea.

The petitioner contended that the ministerial rank amounts to a berth in the state cabinet, which is not permissible constitutionally and is illegal and arbitrary. Alleging that the said order has been issued at the instance of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the petitioner claimed it amounts to interference in the affairs of the state of Punjab.

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