The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Punjab government on an appeal challenging the Punjab & Haryana High Court order, dismissing a petition challenging appointment of Prashant Kishor as Principal Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta noted that counsel for the petitioners contended that Prashant Kishor is an expert in organising elections and is assisting parties in different states.
Advocate Baltej Singh Sidhu, representing Labh Singh and another petitioner, submitted that the appointment of Kishor as Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister, that too in the rank and status of a Cabinet minister at the cost of public money, is not permissible.
Counsel contended before the top court that the government may have any advisor with any particular expertise for governance purposes and questioned the validity of the order by the state government. The petitioners said the decision also smacked of mala fide as Kishore worked as strategist for the Congress in 2017.
In their plea, Singh, a retired boxing coach and Satinder Singh, an advocate, contended Kishor is an expert in organising elections and is assisting parties in various states.
“Issue notice returnable after the summer recess,” said the top court in its order.
Amarinder Singh had appointed Kishor in March this year. The petitioners claimed there was no advertisement or interview conducted for the appointment, which was clear violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
Dismissing the petition, the High Court had noted that the Chief Minister, being an elected representative, has manifold constitutional duties to discharge, including good governance towards the citizens, and thus, he is at liberty to choose his advisors.
Kishore was the political strategist for Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee won the Assembly elections with a landslide victory, to become Chief Minister for the third consecutive term.