High court open to examine legality of Sidhu's TV appearances

High court open to examine legality of Sidhu's TV appearances

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on Friday observed that everything cannot be codified into law and some things should be tested on convention and propriety as well.

The division bench of Justice S S Saron and Justice Darshan Singh made this observation while   hearing a PIL that sought to restrain Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu from continuing his appearance in the popular The Kapil Sharma Show on television.

Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda appeared in person in the case that was later adjourned for May 11. The court,  while seeking to know whether there was any provision in law to restrain Sidhu, agreed that Sidhu could continue with the show.

“Do we debar him (from participating in the show)?  We’re open to it (examine it legally),” the HC bench said. Chandigarh-based activist and lawyer H C Arora on Thursday had filed the PIL that came up for hearing on Friday.

Arora has defended his case maintaining that Sidhu is a public servant and cannot be allowed to do private business. The petitioner stated that if Sidhu is allowed to participate in the show, then rules that prohibit government servants from doing business while in service should also be set aside.

On March 23, Punjab AG Atul Nanda in his report to the chief minister said  Sidhu can continue his appearance on TV and there was no conflict of interest in it. The AG had opined that there was no violation of the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 or the code of conduct in the case.

The four-page report noted that the role and function of a celebrity judge on the show is not an office of profit under the Government of India or the state government, hence its continuation would not invite disqualification. The minister’s continuation of work on the show also does not violate Clause 1(b) of the minister’s code of conduct,” the AG had held.

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