Chandigarh: The Punjab government today sought time to reply to a petition filed by a lawyer against Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's participation in a comedy show on television.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed by H C Arora against Sidhu's continued participation in the Kapil Sharma's comedy show even after becoming a minister in the Amarinder Singh Government. The PIL was heard by justices S S Saron and Darshan Singh.
Punjab's Advocate General (AG) Atul Nanda appeared in the court and sought time to file a reply in the case. Nanda had recently given an opinion to the Punjab government that Sidhu could continue to appear on the show as there was no conflict of interest. The legal opinion was sought by Amarinder as Sidhu also holds the culture portfolio.
The Bench asked whether legal provisions restrained a minister from appearing on a tv show. The court also observed that everything cannot be codified and some things needed to be tested on convention and propriety. The Bench posted the matter for next hearing on May 11. Arora argued that a public servant cannot be allowed to do private business. "It is expected that he wouldn?t do the show. But do we debar him (from participating in the show)?...we?re open to it (examine it legally)," the court said. When the Bench asked Nanda about his views on a cabinet minister appearing in a comedy show, he said, "I am here to defend the state government on legal issues only."
The petitioner has contended that the propriety of the Constitutional Post of a cabinet minister requires him to not participate in the show. He cited the judgment of a full bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 1990 which said a chief minister should not act in a film. He said by the same token a cabinet minister should not also act in films.
Acting in a comedy show by Sidhu appears to be more serious than acting in a film, the petitioner contended, adding it would give rise to "conflict of interest".