States can’t enact law on parliamentary secretaries: SC

Why in news ?

SC ruling : state assemblies hold no power to enact a law that enables them to appoint parliamentary secretaries.

Parliamentary secretary

A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.

Background

The ruling while hearing pleas challenging the appointment of 13 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries by the Assam government in 2015. The verdict would also have an impact on the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision to appoint 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

Delhi Ruling : The Delhi High Court too had quashed their appointments, saying it lacked the approval of the lieutenant governor. The matter is currently pending before the Election Commission of India. All 21 MLAs may be disqualified if the poll body finds that AAP MLAs serving as parliamentary secretaries was a case of holding an office of profit.

Assam Ruling : The bench in its 39-page verdict observed that the legislature of Assam lacked the competence to make the impugned act, and declared it unconstitutional.

Why the conflict occur ?

  • The Constitution specifies conditions which disqualify MPs, MLAs, Municipality and Panchayat members from membership of their respective institutions on the reason of holding an “Office of Profit” under the state or central government.
  • The Constitution caps the number of members in the union and state cabinet. Article 164(1A) specifies that the number of ministers including the Chief Minister has to be within 15% of the total number of members of the Assembly. (10% in the case of Delhi, which is not a ‘full’ state).

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

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