Friday, January 23, 2009

High Court slams Parl.Sec appointments in Goa

This is a lesson and a reminder which the government of Goa must take seriously and learn from.

The division bench of the Bombay High Court, in response to a public Interest litigation, has quashed the appointments of Mr. Nilkanth Harlankar and Mr Francis Silveira as parliamentary secretaries in the state of Goa, and termed the decision as a "colourable exercise of power" done in undue haste to accomplish a political wish that does not fit into the norms of administrative function.

While retaining the cabinet status to three other respondents, the  judgement running into 108 pages by the High Court held that the action of the state in frustrating the Constitutional mandate and attempts to overreach the Constitutional restrictions is arbitrary and untenable in law.The Court while quashing the appointment of the parliamentary secretaries noted that equivalence of status and rank is clubbed with the functions, duties, responsibilites and privileges of that post.Therefore in spirit and substance they have been appointed as cabinet Ministers under the expression of parliamentary secretaries.

The decision is hardly reliable or founded on matters of policy relating to public utility but is the result of a 'wish' expressed at a given point of time to create political stability by accommodating elected members of the assembly in violation of Constitutional command contained in Article 164(1-A) such a decision can hardly stand the scrutiny of law. The court however allowed the stay on the order for four weeks for the respondents to appeal the judgement before the Supreme Court.

It may be recalled that the duo had been appointed on July 6 2007 as parliamentary secretaries in a bid to assuage their political aspirations since only a maximum of 12 members of the ruling party are allowed to be sworn in as Ministers as per the law leaving the others disgruntled and potential baits of poaching by opposition parties to destabilize the government.

The trend was reportedly in use by successive governments over the years and it needed the intervention of the High court to remind our political class of their embarrassing actions.

This should give a stern reminder to our establishment not to use and waste public money to appease themselves under different titles and loot the public exchequer for their own benefits. But can these 40 really read into that judgement, and will they ever learn? One hopes the people of Goa are watching, listening and awatiting their turn with no memory losses at the time of elections.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin