In a major setback to the state government, the Bombay high court last week temporarily restrained it from appointing an administrative member on the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.
A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice RG Ketkar directed the state government to file an affidavit in reply to a petition filed by retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer M Ramesh Kumar within two weeks. The court till then stayed fresh appointment.
Kumar, who had retired as additional chief secretary in September 2010, had moved the high court challenging the state government’s decision to overlook the recommendation of the selection committee headed by the chief justice of the high court. In January 2011, the selection committee unanimously recommended the appointment of Kumar, an IAS officer of 1975 batch, as a member of the state administrative tribunal.
However, four months later, the chief minister ordered a fresh appointment after it was found that the general administration department had forgotten to forward application of another retired IAS officer BP Pandey to the selection committee for consideration.
According to Kumar, the state government is bound to forward the recommendation of the selection committee, and they could not have overlooked it. He has contended that ordering fresh appointment was malafide and beyond the state government’s jurisdiction.
The high court on Thursday expressed utter displeasure over the developments.
“We do understand a bonafide mistake can happen, but we don’t want that somebody is favoured under the guise of a mistake,” the judges said while hearing Kumar’s petition.
“The state government needs to explain certain other things as well,” the court told advocate general Ravi Kadam.
The judges also said that the state government was reluctant to file an affidavit in reply to the petition, but Kadam denied this, saying there was no reluctance and offered to file affidavit in reply. The petition will come up for further hearing on July 28.