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Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Deputy Chief Ministers’ Appointments

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 15:22 IST

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in various states, asserting that such appointments do not violate Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Court dismissed the petition, deeming it misconceived and emphasizing that the position of Deputy Chief Minister is essentially that of a minister within the state government, carrying the label “Deputy Chief Minister” without providing any additional constitutional significance.

The petitioner, ‘Public Political Party,’ sought a mandamus from the Court to halt what it deemed “unconstitutional appointments” of Deputy Chief Ministers across states.

Chief Justice Chandrachud clarified that the appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister does not confer any constitutional privileges or higher salary, characterizing the position as merely a label within the state government.

The Court, while dismissing the petition, emphasized that the title “Deputy Chief Minister” does not breach any constitutional positions.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the practice of appointing Deputy Chief Ministers violated Article 14, contending, “They are, by doing so, setting a wrong example for the other authorities also… What is the basis of appointing a deputy CM? It is only religion and being from a particular sect of society; there is no other basis. This is against Articles 14 and 51A of the Constitution.”

Despite the petitioner’s arguments, the Court, appearing disinclined to entertain the matter, held that the position of Deputy Chief Minister is first and foremost that of a minister within the state government and does not breach constitutional provisions.

The case details are recorded as PUBLIC POLITICAL PARTY vs. UNION OF INDIA W.P.(C) No. 000090 – / 2024.