The Supreme Court today junked a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India challenging the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in various States for lacking substance.

The bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra observed, “The petitioner invokes the jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution (of India) to challenge the appointment of Deputy Chief Ministers in the States. His submission is that there is no such office as stipulated in the Constitution. A Deputy Chief Minster is first and foremost a minister in the government of the States. The appellation of a Deputy Chief Minister does not reach the constitutional position, mainly, that a person who holds the office of a Minister must, in any event, within a stipulated period be a member of the Legislature in order to qualify for appointment as a Minister. In that view of the matter, the challenge which is being addressed before this court lacks in substance. The petition is accordingly dismissed”.

During the hearing of the matter, even before the petitioner could argue, CJI said, "Why do you file these kinds of petitions? You are seeking a Mandamus. What is the relief that you are seeking? Direct respondents to take appropriate steps with respect to the unconstitutional appointments of Deputy CMs in the various States?”.

"It is only a label. Even if you call somebody a Deputy Chief Minster, the constitutional status is of a Minister. The appellation of a particular person being a Deputy Chief Minister has no real bearing in a constitutional sense. They don’t draw a higher salary, they are like any other member, but they are treated like a CM, may be a little more senior than others…”, added CJI further.

To that, the Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted, "Only salary is not the concern…they are setting wrong example for other authorities also in the government departments".

"What is the basis of appointment of Deputy CM?", he asked.

While answering his question, he said further “...the basis is only religion and some particular sect of the society. There is no other basis of appointment of such post. That is against Article 14 and 15 (1) of the Constitution".

However, the bench refused to accept any argument as put forth by the Counsel for the petitioner and dismissed the petition.

Cause Title: Public Political Party v. Union of India