Orissa Chief Minister vandalises the Law, appoints de facto Cabinet Ministers behind back of the Governor

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Chief Minister has appointed three of his followers as members of the State Planning Board, by name Prasanna Patsani, Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik and Sadhu Nepak. Whereas Patsani and Patnaik are given Cabinet rank, Nepak is placed in the rank of a Minister of State. All these three fellows are activists of BJD that the CM heads.

Notwithstanding their grade, the rank of minister bestows upon these ruling party politicians the privileges that the members of the Council of Ministers are empowered with. These fellows would enjoy all powers that are vested in the legally appointed ministers, but shall not be answerable to the people.

In a State, Cabinet and other ministers are appointed by the Governor under the provisions of the Constitution of India and function as per the Rules of Business, which the Governor frames and promulgates under Art.166 of the Constitution. Neither the Constitution nor the Rules of Business has any provision for such de facto members of the cabinet.

The Orissa Ministers’ Salaries and Allowances Act, 1952 has no provision for de facto ministers. Hence the Director of Treasuries is not empowered to pay the salaries and allowances of these fellows appointed in the rank of ministers. But he is bound to pooh-pooh the Act in the instant case.

Sad, the Governor of Orissa is a silent spectator to this vandalisation of Law!

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