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 Supreme Court’s Observations on Deputy CM’s Post |

 Supreme Court’s Observations on Deputy CM’s Post

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∙ The Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in States on the ground that no such position exists in the Constitution.

The post of Deputy CM

∙ Article 163(1) of the Constitution says “there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions”

∙ Neither Article 163 nor Article 164 mentions a Deputy Chief Minister.

∙ The post of Deputy CM is understood as being equivalent in rank to that of Cabinet Minister (in the state). 

∙ The Deputy CM enjoys the same pay and perks as a Cabinet Minister.

∙ Brief history: Perhaps the first Deputy CM in India was Anugrah Narayan Sinha

∙ Deputy CMs were seen in more states, especially after the reduction of the Congress’s near-total dominance on national politics after 1967. 

Supreme Court’s Observations

∙ It found no harm in the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers, reasoning that they were after all Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) of the States and Ministers of State governments.

∙ Deputy Chief Ministers are first and foremost Ministers in the government of the State.

∙ A person who holds the office of the Deputy Chief Minister must at any event, within a stipulated period, be an MLA. 

∙ These persons appointed did not draw a higher salary and were like any other Minister in the government, and may just be more senior than the others.

Petition 

∙ The appointments of Deputy Chief Ministers were motivated by religion and sectarian considerations. 

∙ Such appointments were against Article 14 (right to equality) and the tenet of Article 15 which holds that the State ought not to discriminate on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

∙ However, the court dismissed the petition, saying it lacked substance.

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