HC reserves verdict on PIL against appointments

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Panaji, Mar 19 (UNI) The Bombay High Court at Goa today reserved judgement on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Advocate Aires Rodrigues, challenging the appointment of five politicians with cabinet ranks by the Digambar Kamat Government.

While Nilkanth Harlankar (NCP-MLA) and Francisco Silveira (Congress-MLA) were appointed as parliamentary secretaries with cabinet status, Economic Development Corporation Chairman Agnelo Fernandes, Deputy Chairman of Goa Planning Board Wilfred De Souza (NCP President) and Commissioner of NRI affairs Eduardo Faleiro were given the cabinet rank.

Arguments on the PIL concluded before Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Nelson A Britto.

In his argument, Rodrigues submitted that the appointments and granting of cabinet status were done for political expediency and these illegal appointments and acts of the government were a huge unnecessary burden on the state exchequer.

He argued that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and conferment of rank/status of a cabinet minister to others was a ''fraud on the Constitution and violation of the 91st amendment, which was meant to restrict the size of the cabinet and to prevent jumbo size cabinets''.

Rodrigues also submitted that the appointments amounted to ''back door entry for MLAs and high party functionaries for additional cabinet berths when the Constitution has itself fixed the number of such cabinet posts, the intention being to do away with wasteful expenditure arising from jumbo cabinets''.

Advocate General Subodh Kantak submitted that the appointments of parliamentary secretaries and conferment of cabinet status to others were executive decisions and the judiciary should not review them.

In 2005, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had set aside the appointments of parliamentary secretaries as unconstitutional.


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