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  India   All India  24 Mar 2017  Like Sidhu, NTR too faced controversy over film shoot

Like Sidhu, NTR too faced controversy over film shoot

Published : Mar 24, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Updated : Mar 24, 2017, 6:52 am IST

Mr Sidhu justified his TV appearances saying he gets an income that gives him the strength to take on corrupt politicians.

Navjot Singh Sidhu
 Navjot Singh Sidhu

Hyderabad: The decision of Punjab sports and culture minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to continue to shoot for his popular TV show has raised questions over whether a minister while discharging his Constitutional office is allowed to undertake other activity that is not directly connected to his duties as minister.

Mr Sidhu has said he wants to earn money for himself, raising another controversy as the code of conduct for ministers expresses itself against such a practice.

This controversy is similar to the one that arose when then AP chief minister N.T. Rama Rao decided to act in and direct a film, Brahmarshi Viswamitra, in 1989. The decision was challenged in the AP high court by a petitioner, Vidadala Harinathababu, Guntur district Youth Congress president, seeking NTR’s dismissal as chief minister.

The court headed by then Chief Justice Yogeswar Dayal held that there was no law restricting a chief minister or a minister from continuing an activity other than that for the post he is holding.

While dismissing the petition, the division bench headed by Justice Dayal gave out a lengthy verdict, holding that it was for the enforcing authority of the code of conduct for ministers to decide the nature of action in such instances, and not for the high court. There was no law prohibiting a minister from discharging functions other than as a minister, the court said.

The then attorney-general K. Parasaran, in his capacity as amicus curiae or friend of the court, had held that “the freedom of a chief minister to engage himself in any activity cannot be denied... in the interest of general public and to sustain the purity of public life, the holder of such office should not engage himself in any activity which leads directly to personal gain in material terms or which will undermine the dignity of the office”.

Mr Sidhu decision to participate in TV shows to “earn” money is still an area of dispute as it is prohibited by the code of conduct for ministers. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh who, as per the AP high court verdict, is the competent authority to take a call on such matters, has sought legal opinion from the state’s Advocate General Atul Nanda before forming his opinion.

Mr Nanda has apparently advised Mr Sidhu against continuing his programme.

Mr Sidhu justified his TV appearances saying he gets an income that gives him the strength to take on corrupt politicians since he does not consider politics as a business. He said, “If I do TV I will leave Chandigarh at 3 pm, reach Mumbai at 5 pm, shoot all night and take a 3 am flight and be here at 5 am when no one has even woken up and will be at work by 7 am.” His wife Navjot Kaur supported him and said Mr Sidhu has to run his household and in any case does all his TV work on a Saturday.

Attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi, when asked about the Sidhu controversy, said there was no provision in the Constituion to disqualify an MLA or minister if he engaged in a private business.

Tags: navjot singh sidhu, tv show, n.t. rama rao