The Parliament passed Constitution (Ninety-First Amendment) Act' 2003 restricting the number of Ministers to 15% of the total number of the members of the Legislature of a State. With a view to circumvent the provisions of the Act, the State Govts. started appointing Parliamentary Secretaries with ministerial perks to provide profits of office to a larger number of the members of ruling party. In certain States, the matter was taken to the respective High Courts for quashing the appointments. In the case of Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh quashed the appointments. The then Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Himachal Pradesh has reportedly filed an SLP in the Supreme Court of India against his dismissal. The matter has also been taken to the Election Commission alleging that the concerned legislators have become disqualified in terms of Article 192 (2) of the Constitution of India.

COMMON CAUSE learnt that the Govt. of Haryana was considering to amend the Haryana State Legislature (Prevention of Dis-qualification) Act 1974 to facilitate appointments of Parliamentary Secretaries.. COMMON CAUSE considered it necessary to file a Writ petition in the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to quash the appointments of Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Parliamentary Secretaries in Haryana. Though the matter related specifically to the Govt. of Haryana, it was considered necessary to take the matter to Supreme Court as other States were also reportedly indulging in similar acts of appointing Parliamentary Secretaries to circumvent the provisions of Constitution (Ninety-first Amendment) Act' 2003. The Apex Court directions would be applicable to all the States. We also thought that it would be easier for us to pursue the case at Delhi as we do not have any arrangements of filing/pursuing cases in various High Courts. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not accept our contention and ordered that the matter may be taken to the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh. We are now considering other options.

Two LADIES were discussing what they should wear to the country club dance.

"We're supposed to wear something to match our husband's hair. So I'm going to wear black", said Mrs. Johnson.

"Goodness", gasped her companion. "I don't think I'll go". Her husband was bald.


One of the most tactful speeches ever was by the man who blundered into a bath-room, where a lady was bathing, and calmly turned and left with the words: "I beg your pardon, Sir".

July-September 2006