Four BJP MLAs from Haryana, whose appointment as chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes) were set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court nearly two weeks ago, today tendered their resignations as CPSes.
All of them submitted their resignation to the chief minister, official sources said.
A division bench of the high court had set aside their appointment on July 5 on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer, Jagmohan Singh Bhatti.
The petitioner had filed the PIL shortly after the four were appointed chief parliamentary secretaries by the BJP government in Haryana in July, 2015.
The four MLAs are Shyam Singh Rana, Bakhshish Singh Virk, Seema Trikha and Kamal Gupta.
The government’s decision to appoint the four as CPSes was challenged by Bhatti on the ground that there were no such provisions in the Constitution and the appointments were thus, unconstitutional, and also a burden on the exchequer.
The high court had given the four CPSes time to file an appeal against the order by keeping it in abeyance for three weeks, but today, Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala told reporters here that all four had resigned and there was no plan to challenge the HC verdict.
Barala added that after the July 5 court verdict, the issue was discussed within the party, after which it was decided that all the four MLAs would tender their resignation as CPSes.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had administered oath to the four as CPSes on July 23, 2015.
Rana is the MLA from Radaur in Yamunanagar district, Virk, representing Assandh in Karnal district, is the lone Sikh face among the BJP MLAs in Haryana, Trikha is the MLA from Badhkal in Faridabad and Gupta represents Hisar in the Assembly.
MLAs are often appointed as CPSes by state governments as all of them cannot be accommodated in the cabinet due to a statutory 15-per cent ceiling on ministerial berths vis-a-vis the strength of the respective Assembly.
Bhatti had contended that the state was spending lakhs of rupees of public money on the salaries, perks and facilities of these CPSes, who were de-facto ministers.
However, the Haryana government had countered the claim saying the four CPS-es were not getting the salaries or allowances at par with the ministers and were also not included in the category of ministers.
In August 2016, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also quashed the appointment of the CPSes made by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government in Punjab in April, 2012. In that case too, Bhatti was one of the petitioners.