CHANDIGARH- A week after Chandigarh Police booked Haryana Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sandeep Singh in a sexual molestation case on the complaint of a female junior coach working in State’s Sports Department, today 7 Jan 2023 a Gazette Notification has been issued by Cabinet Secretariat of State Government officially divesting Sandeep Singh of the portfolio of Sports & Youth Affairs which was allocated to him on 14 Nov 2019. Now this Department would be looked after by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar himself apart from other Portfolios currently with him. However, Sandeep would continue to Minister of State in Khattar Government as he holds another portfolio of Printing & Stationery.
Meanwhile, it has been now a week since a Gazette Notification was published on 1st Jan 2023 by Cabinet Secretariat of Haryana Government pertaining to amendment in the Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules, 1974.
An Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, asserted that the aforementioned Rules are made (which are also amended from time to time) by the Governor of each State in exercise of power conferred under Article 166(3) of Constitution of India which pertains to allocation of Business amongst Ministers (including Chief Minister- CM) in respective State Government. At the Central Government level, the corresponding Rules are made ( and amended) by the President of India under Article 77(3) of Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, Hemant said that prior to issuance of the recent amendment Notification dated 1 Jan 2023 issued by the Haryana Governor, Bandaru Dattatraya, there were a total 54 Departments in Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules, 1974. However, the total number of Portfolios as allocated to the Council of Ministers including CM Manohar Lal Khattar prior to amendment is 58. This difference of four arises because C.I.D. as allocated to Chief Minister,Rehabilitation to Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, AYUSH to Cabinet Minister Anil Vij and Hospitality Cabinet Minister Kanwar Pal are however not listed as (separate) Department(s) in Haryana Government Business Allocation Rules, 1974 as existed before 1 Jan, 2023.
Meanwhile, the Advocate further told that after the latest Notification which has come into effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette i.e. with effect from 1st Jan, 2023, the erstwhile Archaeology and Museums, as hitherto allocated to Cabinet Minister Devender Singh Babli is no more a Department. It has been merged with the Tourism Department and has been rechristened as Heritage and Tourism Department. Since erstwhile Tourism Department was allocated to Cabinet Minister Kanwar Pal, hence it remains to be seen if newly created Heritage and Tourism Department is now allocated to Babli or Kanwar Pal by the Governor on the recommendation of CM Khattar.
Also, the erstwhile Arts and Cultural Affairs Department,which has been with Kanwar Pal, has been abolished and merged with Information,Public Relations and Language Department which makes its new name as Information, Public Relations, Languages and Culture Department which in all probability seems to remain with the CM himself. Thus Kanwar Pal would be divested of the Art and Cultural Affairs Department.
Further, the Consolidation Department as earlier allocated to Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has been merged with the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, which is however also with Dushyant. Hence, this change would make no impact except that it would not be shown as a different Department as allocated to Dushyant.
Next, the higher education component within the Education Department as currently allocated to Cabinet Minister Kanwar Pal has been made as a separate Higher Education Department. However, the erstwhile two departments of Technical Education and Science & Technology, which were allocated to Cabinet Minister Anil Vij, would lose their status as different departments and are now part of Higher Education Department.
It now remains to be seen if Education Minister Kanwar Pal would also be allocated the newly created Higher Education Department or else the same would be allocated to Anil Vij, as this new Department now also includes two erstwhile departments as allocated to Vij.
Hemant opines that after segregating higher education part from erstwhile Education Department, the earlier department should have been rechristened as School Education Department rather than merely Education Department in order to clearly differentiate between the two Departments.
Further, the two Departments viz. Power and New & Renewable Energy as hitherto allocated to Cabinet Minister Ranjit Singh (Chautala) have been merged into one viz. Department of Energy. Hence, this change would make no impact except reducing the number of departments allocated to Ranjit from three to two. The Jails/Prisons Department is also allocated to Ranjit.
Next, the Information Technology, Electronics and Communication Department, which has been with CM himself, has been abolished as Department and its functions have been distributed between Citizen Resources Information segment under General Administration Department (GAD), which is also with CM and Industries and Commerce Department, which however is with Deputy CM, Dushyant Chautala.
Further, the Forests Department, as earlier allocated to Cabinet Minister Kanwar Pal has been abolished as Department and has been merged with earlier Environment and Climate Change Department which is with CM and the name of newly created Department is Environment, Forests and Wildlife Department, It remains to be seen if this new Department is allocated to Kanwar Pal by the CM or the latter would keep it with himself.
Next, the erstwhile Labour and Employment Department, which was earlier allocated to Minister of State Anoop Dhanak has been rechristened as only Labour Department with the Employment component within it now forming part of a newly created Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Department which also completely subsumes Skill Development and Industrial Training Department which is currently allocated to Cabinet Minister Mool Chand Sharma. Also this newly created Department also includes the Youth Affairs part of erstwhile Sports and Youth Affairs Department which was earlier with Minister of State Sandeep Singh but which has been taken back by CM officially on 7 Jan 2023.
Also, the erstwhile Department viz. Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, earlier allocated to Cabinet Minister Banwari Lal, has been abolished as a Department. It has actually been merged with the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, hitherto allocated to Minister of State, Om Prakash Yadav. Even new Antyodaya part has been added to the newly created department which makes the name of the department as Social Justice, Empowerment, Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes and Antyodaya (SEWA) Department. It remains to be seen if this newly created SEWA Department is allocated to Cabinet Minister Banwari Lal or Minister of State Om Prakash Yadav,
Hemant says that it is highly surprising that even a week since Haryana Govt Business Allocation Rules have been amended and notified in the State’s Official Gazette on Jan 1, 2023, the corresponding changes have not been made in the list of Portfolios of Council of Ministers. Ideally, it ought to have been done on the same day itself as is the practice at the Central Government.
By: Madhur Vyas