Although the Lok Sabha poll results are less than three weeks away, the government seems to be in a hurry to appoint a new director general (DG) at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a move that has been pending for more than a year.
This hurry has prompted a former ASI officer, Dr DV Sharma, to approach Delhi high court, which is likely to take up the matter on Tuesday.
Sharma had earlier approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) pointing fingers at an “incompetent” member of the selection committee and asked “how can a person lower in rank choose a DG-level person?” He had also raised objections to the selection of three academics rather than professional archaeologist.
As reported by HT earlier, the selection process had been controversy-mired since the selection committee was formed.
In the meantime, KP Poonacha, former ASI joint director general, too had approached CAT. Subsequently, Poonacha’s application was clubbed with Sharma’s and the CAT stay continued. On April 3, the CAT dismissed these applications. “When the file was returned by the DoPT earlier because of the CAT stay, it had said the matter be submitted afresh after disposal of the case or lifting of the stay. But it seems, the appointment is now being done without fresh approvals,” sources said.
“I had cleared the file ages ago, right at the beginning. It now depends on the DoPT,” is all that Chandresh Kumari Katoch, minister for culture – out of Delhi for campaigning – told HT.