The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in States on the ground that no such position exists in the Constitution.
A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud 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, and never mind the nomenclature.
“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. Such appointments do not breach the Constitution,” Chief Justice Chandrachud observed.
He said that 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.
But the petitioner, Public Political Party, said the appointments of Deputy Chief Ministers were motivated by religion and sectarian considerations. The petitioner argued that 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.