K'taka Council debates non-minister's presence in Cabinet meets

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Bangalore, Jun 25 (UNI) The Karnataka Legislative Council today witnessed a lengthy discussion on the issue of a non-member of the Council of Ministers taking part in State Cabinet meetings.

Congress member V S Ugrappa, who objected to the State Government's decision to treat Council member and State Planning Board Deputy Chairman D H Shankaramurthy as a permanent invitee to the Cabinet, said the decision was not in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution and appealed to the Chair to give a ruling on the issue.

Quoting Constitutional provisions, he said the Chief Minister could not invite a person other than a Minister to permanently participate in Cabinet meetings from beginning to end.

Home Minister Dr V S Acharya, also the Leader of the House, strongly defended the Government's decision and said even the Prime Minister could invite someone to participate in Cabinet meetings.

Whatever provisions applied at the national level were adopted in the State also, he added.

Council Chairman Prof B K Chandrashekhar, while refusing to give a ruling on the issue raised by Congress members, said he had taken the opinion of the Union Planning Commission Deputy Chairman and a non-member of the Council of Ministers could participate in Cabinet meetings. However, the issue of not taking oath of office and secrecy by a non-member of the Cabinet remained a matter of debate.

Earlier, he ruled that BJP members 'Mukhyamantri' Chandru and Shankaramurthy did not attract the office-of-profit provision or face disqualification over their appointment as Kannada Development Authority Chairman and State Planning Board Deputy Chairman respectively.

UNI MV GD ARB AS1742

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