The Parkash-SinghBadal-led Akali-BJP government is yet to provide “sanctioned staff” to Punjab Claims Commission four years after the Punjab and Haryana high court formed the panel.
On Wednesday, the commission headed by chief justice VK Bali (retired) wrote to chief minister Badal about how officials of the home department looked after by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal are creating “difficulties” for the panel.
GOT ITS OFFICE AFTER 18 MONTHS
The Bali Commission deals with damage to the government property in agitations, of which 75 cases were registered in the state by 2012. The Punjab government formed this body on June 8, 2012, under the May 29, 2012, direction of the high court. But the commission got its office in December 2013, after 18 months. “…whereas the sanctioned staff has not been provided even till date,” justice Bali has said in his communiqué, seeking Badal’s “intervention at the earliest”, according to sources in the chief minister’s office (CMO).
Of the two senior assistants — Surjit Singh and Girdhari Lal — posted on the commission, one was transferred on his promotion as superintendent, while the other retired. “Thereafter,” reads justice Bali’s letter, “no senior assistant has been posted.” And the only clerk was also transferred on July 19 without a replacement.
Earlier, the under secretary (home) was told to look after the commission as well but the officer “seldom attended” the office for “more than an hour a day, that too only once or twice a week”. Deputy-secretary-rank officer Harchand Singh retired in October 2015 but replacement hasn’t arrived.
EXPENSES NOT CLEARED
Justice Bali told Badal that even the files sent to the home department for the sanctioning of “routine expenses” on telephone, electricity, and stationery were “not received back even after four months”. Even the vehicle-service bills are paid after six months.
When the claim commissioner and registrar were appointed, they were promised a a car along with driver and 290 litres of petrol or 440 litres of diesel each. Later, the travel was restricted to 80 kilometres per day, and 25 days a month, in violation of the conditions of appointment. Asking the government to restore the original terms, justice Bali said: “Several times we have written to the home department for the restoration of the facility of vehicles. The officers concerned be directed to remove the said difficulties.”