'Info and right to service commission appointments not as per rules'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2014 20:31 IST

An unwarranted controversy was triggered on Sunday following the swearing in of two state information commissioners (SICs) and three commissioners in the Haryana Right to Service Commission.

Even as chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday administered the oath of allegiance to the five, Haryana government's administrative reforms secretary, Pardeep Kasni, objected to the issuance of appointment letters to the five on grounds of their eligibility. Pointing out cutting and rewriting on the file, Kasni wrote that the significant material facts (pertaining to their ineligibility) be submitted to the governor.

The controversy, however, is symptomatic of the undue haste being shown by the state government in making the appointments to these statutory posts. The haste was evident as the proposal for making these appointments was sent to the then Haryana governor, Jagannath Pahadia, on July 23 seeking an authorisation from him for the chief minister to administer oath to these persons.

Both the Right to Information Act and Haryana Right to Service Commission Act provided for the delegation of powers by governor to any person for administration of oath.

Those recommended by the statutory committee headed by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for appointment as SICs are - Shiv Raman Gaur, a former IAS officer who was working as adviser to the chief minister (health) after his retirement; a government teacher Rekha, who is the wife of Hooda's political adviser Prof Virender and a serving Lt General Vijay Kumar Narula. Only Gaur and Rekha were administered oath as state information commissioners (SICs) by Hooda on Sunday.

IAS officer Sarban Singh who took voluntary retirement, a retired taxation official, Amar Singh and a former law officer Sunil Katyal were also sworn in by the chief minister as commissioners in the Right to Service Commission on Sunday.

In the file noting, the secretary, administrative reforms, wrote: "No letters of appointment could be issued as all three persons recommended as SICs are yet holding an office of profit on the date of the meeting of the statutory committee. In the case of the proposed right to service commissioners, Lt General (retd) Virender Singh Tonk is neither retired officer of the Haryana state nor recommended by the search committee, Sarban Singh is a serving IAS officer, Amar Singh who retired as joint excise and taxation commissioner is equivalent to a deputy secretary in the state government and Sunil Katyal is a serving deputy advocate general which is an office of profit. Thus, all these recommendations are not commensurate with the provisions of section 13(3) of the Haryana Right to Service Act, 2014."

Chief secy defends appointments

Chief secretary SC Choudhary said that all the persons appointed as state information commissioners and right to service commissioners have either resigned from the service or taken voluntary retirement before being sworn in. Regarding the cutting, rewriting on the file, the chief secretary said that those were certain typographical mistakes which were corrected.

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