The Central Administrative Tribunal issued a notice to the Union information and broadcasting ministry and Prasar Bharati on a petition challenging the appointment of IAS officer Supriya Sahu as the director general at Doordarshan.
The order, issued on June 14, came on the plea of Doordarshan’s additional director general, Mahesh Joshi, who was also in the running for the position, contending that Sahu was recommended despite being ineligible as per the recruitment rules.
The tribunal, which also issued a notice to Sahu and Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar, has asked all parties, including the ministry, Prasar Bharati and the appointments committee of cabinet (ACC), to submit their views before the next date of hearing on July 8.
“In the meanwhile, any appointment made to the post of director general (Doordarshan) would be subject to the outcome” of the case, the tribunal said.
On Wednesday last, the ACC approved Sahu’s appointment as the full-time director general (DG) of the state broadcaster after the seat lay vacant for nearly two years. Tripurari Sharan was the last DG who completed his tenure on July 27, 2014.
During the hearing on June 14, the ministry opposed Joshi’s plea saying there was “no illegality” in recommending Sahu for she had completed the required three years of regular service as joint secretary as mandated under appointment rules.
Sahu, a 1991 batch IAS from the Tamil Nadu cadre, was chosen by Prasar Bharati in February this year after which the broadcaster had recommended her name to the ministry for approval.
Prasar Bharati first advertised for the post in the employment news in January 2014.
Joshi alleged that on the cutoff date on January 1, 2014, Sahu had not completed three years’ regular service as joint secretary to the Government of India cadre. He further claimed that Sahu was appointed as joint secretary in ministry with effect from October 31, 2011.
Joshi stated that Sahu falls short of nine months and two days with regards to meeting the eligibility criteria. He also alleged that this fact was “concealed” by Sircar so as to “mislead the Prasar Bharati Broad”.
Joshi’s petition also sought an inquiry against Sircar.
In response to the advertisements of the Prasar Bharati, 23 candidates applied for the post, of which 11 were found eligible.
Alleging that Sahu’s appointment was done on “account of favouritism”, the petition said the Prasar Bharati Board recommended only her name for the post despite the department of personnel and training guidelines mandating it to recommend a panel of names in order of merit to the ACC.