Appointment of Navi Mumbai’s `Demolition Man’ challenged | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Appointment of Navi Mumbai’s `Demolition Man’ challenged

Feb 06, 2024 03:31 PM IST

The appointment of Dr Rahul Gethe as Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Encroachments) by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has been challenged for violating the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act provisions. The Maharashtra Karmchari Union has filed a writ petition against the appointment.

Navi Mumbai

NMMC encroachment department chief Dr Rahul Gethe (Photo by / HT PHOTO)
NMMC encroachment department chief Dr Rahul Gethe (Photo by / HT PHOTO)

The appointment of Dr Rahul Gethe, a former Officer on Special Duty to chief minister Eknath Shinde, as the Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Encroachments) by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has been challenged by the Maharashtra Karmchari Union terming it a violation of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act provisions.

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Ravindra Sawant, the president of Maharashtra Karmchari Union, had filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court in September 2023 challenging Dr Gethe’s appointment. The HC dismissed the petition on December 15, directing the petitioner to first raise the matter before Secretary, Urban Development department. Sawant has now written to UD Secretary to revoke the appointment within 15 days.

Dr Gethe took over the charge as the DMC with NMMC on August 28, 2023. In September, he was internally transferred to Property department, and in December, he was again given the charge of Encroachment. Earlier he served as a medical officer for Shahapur district and has even worked as OSD to the Chief Minister.

“Just to get Gethe appointed as the DMC, both NMMC and the state government have bypassed various legal provisions. Neither does Gethe have the seniority nor as an MBBS doctor is he permitted to take up administrative roles,” said a senior official from NMMC on condition of anonymity.

The direct appointment of Gethe by the state has been viewed a wrong precedent and undermining the independent functioning of the corporation.

“The state government deciding to appoint an officer on deputation on a permanent basis is stripping NMMC of its administrative rights. This is the first of its kind appointment that undermines NMMC’s authority to appoint officers of merit,” said Sawant. Of the 11 posts of DMC, 6 are appointed by NMMC whereas 5 officials are sent on deputation by the state.

While both the Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Narvekar and Dr Gethe refuted the allegations and refrained from commenting on a subjudice matter. According to RTI activists, the development is politically motivated. “Encroachment department holds a great significance in vote bank politics. By getting a particular officer appointed, the government is merely ensuring that the right kind of pressure is maintained upon the rivals,” said RTI activist Rajiv Mishra.

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