Parliamentary Secretaries Act Struck down by the Karnataka High Court

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The Karnataka High Court on Monday has struck down Karnataka Parliamentary Secretaries Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1963 which was previously amended in the year 1999. The Court said that the Karnataka State Legislature had no legislative power to pass the Karnataka Parliamentary Secretaries Salaries, Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1963.

The Karnataka High Court has termed it as

void ab initio (Latin for ‘to be treated as invalid from the outset’), being ultra vires (Latin for ‘beyond the powers’) the Constitution of India

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice SR Krishna Kumar stated that the scheme of Article 194 shows that it does not explicitly allow the State Legislature to create offices such as those at issue.

Article 194 deals with the powers, privileges, and immunities of the legislatures of the States, their members, and their committees. The court also said that the impugned Act was an attempt to delegate the duties and obligations to the Parliamentary Secretary in relation to the legislative matters (MLA or MLC).

The High Court further observed,

It is true that there is no specific provision under the said Act, which specifically lays down that the Parliamentary Sectaries shall be entitled to the status of Hon’ble Ministers or Ministers of State or Deputy Ministers to whom, the Hon’ble Governor administers the oath of office on the advice of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, but, the said Rules show that there is hardly any difference between the role of a Deputy Minister or a Minister of State without independent charge and a Parliamentary Secretary.”

Deputy CM Dr. CN Ashwathnarayan said, “We need to look into it. Law of the land will always prevail. We will see what will be the way forward, what should be the solution and how we need to address this.


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