The Supreme Court on Monday disposed of a plea challenging poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s appointment as former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s adviser in August this year.
Taking note of the fact that Prashant Kishor has resigned as the former Punjab CM’s adviser, the court said that the expert has himself resigned on August 4, 2021, as an advisor to the ex-Punjab CM.
A special leave petition filed by Labh Singh and Satinder Singh was being heard by the bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising Justice M.M. Sundresh. The plea had challenged the then Punjab CM granting cabinet rank to principal adviser Prashant Kishor by order dated March 1, 2021.
Opposing Kishor’s appointment as the then Punjab Chief Minister’s advisor, the plea had claimed it was wrong to give facilities to Prashant Kishor from the treasury. On March 17, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed their challenge and hence the petitioners approached the Supreme Court.
Advocate Baltej Singh, the counsel for the petitioners, said that despite Kishor’s resignation the larger issues of the unauthorized appointment and putting an extra-burden on the public exchequer still remain unanswered.
In its order, the bench recorded that it was not approving the reasoning of the High Court which had observed that the Chief Minister, being an elected representative, has manifold constitutional duties to discharge including good governance towards the residents of the state and thus, he was at the liberty to choose his advisers.
The bench said the adviser to the Punjab CM is an office and not a post regulated by statutory constrictions, and the charge that an advertisement need to have been issued before selecting such an adviser is a completely misplaced argument.
The court also observed that the appointment in question is not a civil appointment, but for the purposes of perks and rank only and thus, provisions under Article 16(1) of the Constitution are not attracted.