Just a day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha was named Chairman of the Punjab government’s advisory panel, a petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday challenged his appointment.
The petition, filed by advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti, contended that the appointment was illegal, arbitrary and in exercise of “non-existent” laws of the Central and state governments.
It also argued that the appointment of Chadha was in violation of the Constitution as he is an “outsider and not a part of the state Legislative Assembly”.
The appointment would entail 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”, said the petitioner.
Amid criticism by the Opposition, the Bhagwant Mann state government on Monday appointed Chadha as Chairman of a state advisory committee on matters of public interest.
The opposition parties had been saying that the Chief Minister would make Chadha the de facto Chief Minister by making him the committee’s Chairman to take part in official meetings.
A notification to constitute the committee, comprising a Chairman and members, who will not be entitled to any compensation, remuneration, or perks, was issued last week.
Responding to the appointment, state Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring slammed the government and accused Chief Minister Mann of ceding too much power to Chadha through the committee.
He said appointing Chadha as Chairman is tantamount to making him the Chief Minister of Punjab.
“Punjabis did not vote for this change. It seems @BhagwantMann ji has handed over the Punjab government on contract,” said Raja Warring in a tweet.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also took a dig at the AAP-led government, saying the move has put the ‘show manager’ Chadha formally on stage.