Home ministers were steamrolled to gain control of CID by ex-CMs
Interpretation of allocation of business rules done to suit the interest of CMs, say officialsUpdated: Jan 19, 2020, 22:45 IST
A number of former Haryana home ministers in 80s and 90s were stripped of the charge of criminal investigation department (CID) without following due process by domineering chief ministers like Bansi Lal, Devi Lal and Om Prakash Chautala. And none seems to have protested, officials familiar with the past developments said. Incumbent firebrand home minister Anil Vij, who is involved in a row with chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar over the control of CID, however, is an exception.
A perusal of notifications for allocation of portfolios previously brought out this fact.
A controversy had erupted about a fortnight ago when two government websites cited the chief minister as holding the charge of the CID, the intelligence arm of the state government. There was no notification issued by the government to make this change.
Vij was quick to say that that a mere mention on a website does not divest him of the charge of the CID. “The CM has the authority to reallocate any department to a minister. But then, a process has to be followed to do so. The governor has to issue a notification on the advice of the chief minister to reallocate the department. There is none as of now,” the home minister had said.
CID’S EXCLUSION FROM HOME DEPT
Former chief minister Bansi Lal held the home portfolio during the first six months of his second stint in 1986. The June 6, 1986 allocation of portfolio notification said that Lal held home portfolio, including CID. Six months later, Tayyab Hussain, a Meo Muslim MLA, was inducted in the council of ministers and allocated the home portfolio, but without the charge of CID. The December 6, 1986 notification issued in the name of governor said that Bansi Lal will hold the charge of only CID in the home department whereas Hussain will hold the charge of home portfolio, excluding CID. However, no amendment in Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules, 1974, to define CID as a standalone department was made.
The practice was repeated in May 1996 when Bansi Lal again became the chief minister and Mani Ram Godara was allocated the home portfolio. The May 13, 1996 notification for allocation of portfolios said that Lal will hold the charge of CID and Godara of home portfolio. Again, no amendment in Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules was made to classify CID as a standalone portfolio.
When Devi Lal became chief minister in June 1987, the home portfolio was allocated to Sampat Singh but the CID was allocated to the chief minister. Om Prakash Chautala succeeded his father Devi Lal as chief minister in December 1989 and again allocated home portfolio to Sampat Singh, but without CID, as per a December 6, 1989 notification by the governor.
Former minister Sampat Singh said that when BJP leader Mangal Sein became the home minister in the Devi Lal government in 1977, he was divested of the charge of CID at the instance of Lal’s son Om Prakash Chautala. “And since then it has carried on like this,’’ Singh said.
Officers who remained posted as joint secretary, political and services, in the chief secretary’s office during those times told HT that exclusion of CID from the home portfolio whenever the portfolio was allocated to any other minister was done without following any due process.
“The move succeeded only because these ministers did not have the nerve to object. They were in fact steamrolled,’’ said an officer.
POSSIBLE ARGUMENTS ADVANCED
The probable line of reasoning taken to exclude CID during earlier times was that the Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules, 1974, provided for assigning a single department to the charge of more than one minister.
“But then CID as per the Rules of Business, 1977, does not qualify as a standalone department. It is incorporated as a part of the home department. The Rules of Business framed under Article 166 of the Constitution have clearly spelt out that a department means a department specified in Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules, 1974. The Rules specify home, jails and administration of justice as three separate departments. But the CID has been mentioned as a part of the home department and so are the functions of security, intelligence including espionage and counter espionage which the state CID also performed,’’ said a former joint secretary, home.