Secretary, administrative reforms, Pradeep Kasni, on Sunday objected to the issuance of appointment letters to the SICs and RTSCs on grounds of their eligibility. Here is his view and government’s counter to it:
Kasni: Shiv Raman Gaur, Rekha and Lt Gen Vijay Kumar Narula, who were recommended to the post of state information commissioners were holding office of profit on the day the statutory committee headed by chief minister held a meeting for the selection.
Chief Secretary: The Supreme Court in Union of India v/s Namit Sharma has clearly said that sections 12(6) and 15(6) of Right to Information Act, which provide that the chief information commissioner (CIC) or information commissioner (IC) shall not be a MP or MLA or hold any other office of profit or be connected with any political party or carry on any business or pursue any profession do not disqualify such persons for consideration for appointment as CIC or IC but these disqualifications will come into play after a person is appointed as CIC or IC. In other words, after a CIC or IC is appointed, he cannot continue to be a MP, MLA or hold any other office of profit … Anyway both Gaur and Rekha had resigned from their posts before being appointed as SICs.
Kasni: Lt Gen VS Tonk (retd) is neither a retired officer of Haryana state nor recommended by the search committee for RTSC.
Chief Secretary: Lt Gen Tonk (retd) was recommended for appointment in terms of section 13 (3) of the RTSC Act which provides that other commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with at least 20 years experience in management, law, administration and governance. Though Lt Gen Tonk (retd) did not apply for RTSC post and his name was not shortlisted by the search committee, the statutory committee headed by the chief minister considered it appropriate to recommend his name keeping in view his vast experience in management activities. The law does not mandate that the person selected should apply.
Kasni: Sarban Singh who was appointed as RTSC is a serving IAS officer; Amar Singh who retired as joint excise and taxation commissioner, which is equivalent to deputy secretary rank officer and Sunil Katyal is a serving deputy advocate general (DAG), which is an office of profit. Thus all these recommendations are not commensurate with the provisions of sections 13 (3) of the Right to Service Act, 2014.
Chief Secretary: The objections raised are not based on facts. Sarban Singh had resigned from the civil service before his appointment letter was issued. Similarly, Katyal too had put in his papers as DAG before being appointed. Amar Singh was recommended for appointment in terms of the same provision – person of eminence in public life in the field of law.
Kasni: File on the recommendations of RTSCs carry cuttings and overwriting. Needs to brought to the notice of the governor.
Chief Secretary: I made those corrections. The Raj Bhavan has a shadow file. Anyone can check from the Raj Bhavan file whether there was any irregularity. Everything is on record and objections raised by Kasni are not based on facts.