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CHANDIGARH (Aditi) On Dec 11 Himachal Pradesh Governor, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar after administering Oath of Office and Secrecy to Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh also administered Oath of Office and Secrecy to Mukesh Agnihotri as Deputy Chief Minister.

However, the Gazette Notification as issued by the General Administration Department (Confidential and Cabinet) the same day mentions that in pursuance of Article 164 of the Constitution of India, the Governor, Himachal Pradesh, has been pleased to appoint, on the advice of the Chief Minister of the H.P., Mukesh Agnihotri, Member of Legislative Assembly as Deputy Chief Minister & Minister for the State of Himachal Pradesh.

Amidst all this, one seriously wonders if Mukesh Agnihotri's appointment has been made as Deputy Chief Minister or else Minister or both ? Meanwhile an Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, is skeptical if the Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) for a State can be appointed and consequently sworn in as such directly by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of Chief Minister (CM) just like other Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State or else DCM is (re)designated as such from amongst duly sworn in (Cabinet) Ministers by the Competent Authority i.e. either by the Governor on the recommendation of CM or else by the CM itself on his own ? This issue has assumed significance since a difference has been witnessed on appointment / designation of Deputy Chief Ministers in States of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in recent time.

Hemant says that in his home State of Haryana, three years ago on 27 October 2019, Dushyant Chautala was however appointed and sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister directly (on the recommendation of Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar) by the then Haryana Governor Satyadev Narain Arya . On the same day, a Gazette Notification was issued by the Cabinet Secretariat of Haryana Government which clearly mentioned Dushyant's appointment only as Dy. CM of Haryana and not as Minister.

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