The Congress government in Haryana has now decided to engage Rajya Sabha member and former union law minister Ashwani Kumar to defend its high-profile case, in the Punjab and Haryana high court, of alleged irregularities in selection of 67 officers through the Haryana Civil Services (executive branch) Examination-1999. All selected officers are occupying top posts at present.
The development is significant as senior Supreme Court advocate Raju Ramachandran, representing the state government for the last over two years, refused to continue because of repeated adjournments in the court.
Confirming the development, state advocate general Hawa Singh Hooda said, "After Raju Ramachandran showed reservations in continuing, the state government has requested senior advocate Dr Ashwani Kumar for appearance." When contacted, Ramachandran stated on phone from New Delhi, "Repeatedly, the case was being unnecessarily getting adjourned. I didn't feel comfortable in charging a considerable fee on every date without work."
Case pending for 11 years
The case filed by for mer Palwal Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal and the non-selected candidates has been pending in court for over 11 years and had been heard by seven chief justices till date. Since July last year, the case had been listed for six times before the division bench headed by justice Satish Kumar Mittal but had resulted in adjournments.
On Wednesday also, the case was adjourned for May 16. This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court had directed the high court in March 2011 to decide the case "as early as possible." Selected officers have engaged most of the senior advocates in the high court to defend their case.
Case reserved for orders, opened again
After hearing the case on daily basis, the court comprising then chief justice AK Sikri and justice RK Jain reserved its order on February 19 last year. Again on April 1, the bench directed all parties to file written submissions, if any, by April 2 and indicated an early judgment. But justice Sikri was elevated to the Supreme Court on April 12 and the case came up before justice Mittal's court.
The state vigilance bureau had found that in many cases marks of selected candidates were increased by way of cutting or overwriting in different inks, pages in answer sheets were changed and some answers were written by outsiders. The findings were also confirmed by the Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban (Karnal), in its report dated May 11, 2010.