CHANDIGARH: As there is no conflict of interest cricketer-turn-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu who is Punjab Local Bodies, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums Minister can carry on doing his television shows states the report of Punjab Advocate General submitted to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
In his legal opinion, AG Atul Nanda has clarified that there is no conflict of interest in Navjot Sidhu continuing with the work on TV while simultaneously carrying on his responsibility as a minister.
Nanda has not found any conflict of interest between Sidhu’s office as state cabinet minister and his work on television shows. “There is no conflict of interest between his work on the show and his office and discharge of duties as the Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums for the State of Punjab,” the report states.
But Sidhu’s doing the TV shows will be in direct violation of code of conduct for ministers. As in the past, Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad had surrendered their licence to practice law after becoming ministers in the Modi Government. Also singer Babul Supriyo too gave up commercial playback singing after becoming a minister.
"It would be in violation of code of conduct for the ministers which has always to be strictly followed to keep the healthy traditions of democracy alive. The code of conduct states that no minister shall undertake a business activity," says former Punjab Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal.
In the opinion of the advocate general, no violation of the Constitution of India, the Representation of the People Act, 1951, or the Code of Conduct in this case. He further states that Sidhu “faces no legal bar in continuing with his work on the show.”
The four-page report of the advocate general further concludes, precluding the need for any change in the culture portfolio of Sidhu.
Citing the Constitution, the report concluded that the role and function of celebrity judge on the show is not an office of profit under the Government of India/ the State Government. It is not even an office under the Government of India or State Government, it further said, adding, “Hence the continuation of such work would not invite the disqualification of holding of an office of profit within the meaning of Article 191(1).”
The advocate general has further opined that there is no impediment to the Minister continuing with his work on the show in terms of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, which sets out various disqualifications under Sections 8, 8-A, 9, 9-A, 10, 10-A, 11-A. The minister’s continuation of work on the show also does not violate Clause 1(b) of the Minster’s Code of Code, the advocate general has stated in his report.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has confirmed that he has received the report of the advocate general on the issue. He said that there was no hindrance now to Sidhu’s continuation on TV shows, nor any need to change his culture portfolio.
The advocate general was entrusted by the chief minister with the task of giving his legal opinion on whether there was any prohibition or restriction in the continuation of Sidhu’s work as celebrity guest on a comedy show - The Kapil Sharma Show, as such work may amount to a conflict of interest.