The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday defended in the Punjab and Haryana high court its decision to appoint Harcharan Singh as its chief secretary.
In an affidavit filed before the division bench of justice SK Mittal and justice HS Sidhu, the SGPC said there was no breach of any act or rule in the appointment of the chief secretary as it was on contractual basis for a period of three years. No service rule is applicable and there would also not be any age bar for the post as it is a contractual appointment, the court was informed. The SGPC further stated that the ‘compensation’ amount of Rs 3 lakh per month was fixed prior to Harcharan’s appointment, keeping in view the experience required.
The court was further told that Harcharan possessed more than 30 years of administrative experience and was selected from among 26 candidates after following due procedure and there was no illegality in the process. “The petitioner is abusing the judicial process to unleash political vendetta. The present petition is a “propaganda interest litigation” against the prestigious instruction (SGPC) and it seems to be an effort to malign its pious image,” the SGPC said, demanding that the petition should be dismissed.
It has further been argued that the SGPC had taken the decision to create the post of chief secretary in 2007 and the decision remained unchanged so far.
The post was advertised on June 4 and Harcharan took over as chief secretary on August 27. The petitioner had claimed that the post did not exist under the rules and as per the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. The appointment and the huge salary (Rs 3 lakh per month) was “grave misuse” of public funds which involved religious sentiments of Sikhs, the petitioner had alleged.
The appointment has been challenged by Ludhiana resident Balwinder Singh, who claims to be the president of the Pehredar Social Welfare Society. The matter would come up for further hearing on April 28.