The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued contempt notices to former Punjab chief secretary Rakesh Singh, a former excise and taxation commissioner and a serving excise and taxation commissioner for misleading the court in a matter pertaining to the recruitment of excise and taxation inspectors in 1999.
Disposing of a petition filed by aspirants seeking appointment as excise and taxation inspectors, justice Mahesh Grover issued the notices to Rakesh Singh, former excise and taxation commissioner A Venu Prasad and excise and taxation commissioner Anurag Verma.
The high court, through a showcause notice, has asked them to explain “as to why proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act be not initiated against them for having misled the court.” They are expected to file their reply on October 16.
The contempt notices have been issued while disposing of six petitions seeking directions to the Punjab government to quash the order passed in April 2013, declining appointment to them as excise and taxation inspectors despite recommendations by a committee constituted to consider their candidature.
The petitions pertain to the filling of vacancies in 1999. After holding a written examination and interviews, the government had annulled the selection process on the premise that there was a ban on recruitment.
During the pendency of the petitions, officials of the excise and taxation department had filed affidavits before the court, submitting that the aspirants’ case was being considered. But despite repeated assurances to the court, the petitioners were not given appointments.
The court held, “Since the government had bound itself to analyse the cases of the petitioners before the committee with a further undertaking to the court that they would implement the recommendations of the said committee, I am of the considered view that it is too late in the day for the government as well as the department to wriggle out of their undertaking.”
The court directed the state government to appoint the petitioners to the post they had been selected for, within a period of three months. The court clarified that all petitioners would be entitled to notional benefits and their appointment would relate back to the date when other similarly situated persons were appointed. The petitioners, however, would not be entitled to any monetary benefit for this except for other incidental issues such as seniority and promotion.