The appointment of a Deputy Chief Minister in a state is not unconstitutional, the Supreme Court said on Monday while rejecting a petition.
The practice of appointing a Deputy Chief Minister is adopted in many states to give slightly more importance to senior leaders in the party or coalition of parties in power, said a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.
“Even if you call someone Deputy Chief Minister, it is still a reference to a minister. A Deputy Chief Minister is the first and most important minister in the state government. It does not violate the Constitution,” Chief Justice Chandrachud said during the hearing.
The petitioner had claimed that the Constitution prescribes no post for a Deputy Chief Minister and that it violates Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution. This sets a wrong example, the petition alleged, questioning the basis to make such an appointment.
Deputy Chief Ministers are often appointed to assist the Chief Minister of a state and to accommodate senior coalition leaders in the cabinet. Some states have more than one Deputy Chief Minister while some have none. Andhra Pradesh has five – the most in an Indian state.
The post of a Deputy Chief Minister is held as equivalent to that of a cabinet minister and enjoys similar pay and perks.