Chandigarh, Punjab: Navjot Singh Sidhu, as a public servant, should refrain from doing television owing to his moral responsibility to disassociate with any commercial activity, even though there is no law which bars such a move, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said today.
He said Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh should advise his cabinet colleague to refrain from doing the popular TV show.
The 53-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is a special judge on the popular 'Kapil Sharma Show'.
The top law officer, while speaking to a TV channel, said there was no provision in the Constitution to disqualify an MLA or minister if he engages in private business, adding that "there is a moral and ethical responsibility as per which a public servant must disassociate from any commercial activity."
"The greater the position, the greater the responsibility. So if you indulge in business in the evening, it is like saying switch off and switch on. You say you are a public servant from 10 AM to 6 PM and from 6 PM to 8 AM you are not a public servant. That is not a position which is countenance in democracy," the AG said.
"If a gentleman continues to do so, while there might not be a legal bar, it is the duty of the CM or the PM (as the case may be) to advise his minister and take remedial action," Rohatgi said.
"If the CM (of Punjab) thinks it is inappropriate, Sidhu may not continue with it," he added.
The Attorney General's response came hours after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he has no problems in Sidhu continuing to work in television, if it was allowed as per legal and constitutional provisions.
The CM, however, said, he may have Sidhu's portfolio as Culture Minister changed in case of a conflict.
Sidhu is in the centre of a row over his television stint despite being a minister in Punjab. He has nevertheless expressed willingness to continue with his show, saying he has to earn a living for himself.
The Congress leader emphasised that he sees nothing wrong in continuing with the show.