The Goa Government has submitted that by virtue of being conferred Lifetime Cabinet status former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane is neither appointed as a Minister nor is discharging any functions as a Minister.
In his affidavit, the Under Secretary of General Administration Department at the Secretariat Shripad Arlekar is however silent on what is the work or task assigned to Pratapsingh Rane who has been accorded lifetime rank and status of a cabinet Minister with 18 staff.
Shripad Arlekar in his affidavit is also conspicuously silent over the order issued by him on 22nd April sanctioning creation of 18 posts for staff to be placed at the disposal of Pratapsingh Rane with an annual financial implication of 115 lakhs.
Stating that conferment of status is in the nature of an award, recognition and honour conferred on Pratapsingh Rane, Shripad Arlekar in his affidavit has stated that it does not require any provision under the Constitution or a law for the same as certain National and State awards have been conferred on eminent personalities which entitles them to benefits.
Further stating that there has been a long standing and accepted practice in Goa of recognizing and honouring citizens for their contribution in different fields including Sports, Science and Art, Shripad Arlekar in his affidavit states that it is well within the executive power of the State to honour and recognize distinguished personalities who have been in public life and contributed to the State in their lifetime.
Shripad Arlekar has also stated that there is no requirement of any prior financial sanction to be obtained from the Finance Department and that Pratapsingh Rane will not be functioning as a cabinet Minister and would have no access to Government files or official secrets.
The Goa Government through this affidavit of Shripad Arlekar has for the first time admitted that Pratapsingh Rane has been elected for almost 50 years as MLA and not having completed 50 years as Member of the Goa Legislative Assembly as wrongly claimed in that cabinet decision taken on 7th January this year.