IAS officer seeks VRS for early joining as UPERC chief
Raj Pratap Singh, a1983-batch IAS officer and agriculture production commissioner, has suddenly sought voluntary retirement from service in the wake of his selection to the post of UP Electricity Regulatory Commission chairman a month ago.lucknow Updated: Apr 20, 2018 10:41 IST
Raj Pratap Singh, a1983-batch IAS officer and agriculture production commissioner, has suddenly sought voluntary retirement from service in the wake of his selection to the post of UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) chairman a month ago, sources dealing with the matter in the department of appointment and personnel here revealed.
Due to retire from the IAS in July this year, Singh was selected for the post UPERC chairman on March 19 but he has not taken the oath to be administered by governor. He has now moved an application for the VRS for early joining.
“We have received an application, most probably on April 13, from Raj Pratap Singh, seeking VRS from the IAS pleading that he has to take charge as UPERC chairman,” sources said, adding “As per rules, we have to decide on his application within 90 days.”
Singh’s VRS application has almost coincided with the Supreme Court’s April 12 order that said that one member of any state electricity regulatory commission must be from judicial background. The UPERC is a three-member body. SK Agrawal, who has been officiating as chairman since September last, is member, finance. Kaushal Raj Sharma, who was selected along with Singh last month, has already joined the commission as member, technical. Singh, who is yet to take the charge as the third member in the capacity of chairman, is a bureaucrat.
Sources in the UPERC said a petitioner Mayank Jaiswal had moved the high court seeking a stay on the selection of Raj Pratap Singh as UPERC chairman on the ground that Supreme Court was hearing a petition saying a SERC chairman should be a retired high court judge.
“The Allahabad high court refused to grant the stay order but said in its order that appointment of Raj Pratap Singh would be subject to the Supreme Court’s judgment,” sources said.
The Supreme Court in its Thursday order ruled that it was not “mandatory” to appoint a high court judge as the chairperson of a state electricity regulatory commission, putting to rest the complex question that arose due to conflicting judgments of Gujarat and Madras high courts.
“However, the apex court in the same judgment also held that it is mandatory that there must be a person of legal background possessing professional qualifications with substantial experience in the practice of law and possessing the requisite qualifications to be appointed a judge of a high court or district judge as a member of SERCs,” sources said. The court, they said, also made it clear that if any vacancy arose in any SERC, that did not have a legal member, then the post has to be filled by the person of the legal background.
In the UPERC, none of the two working members is from a legal background. Neither is Raj Pratap Singh who is yet to take the charge as the third member in the capacity as the chairman.
“While the state government may take the plea that it had selected the member and the chairman prior to the Supreme Court judgment, it is a matter of debate if the post of UPERC chairman will be treated as vacant since Singh, who was selected for the job has not assumed the charged yet, which he can do after taking oath once he retires or resigns from the present service.
“Now much will depend how the high court interprets the matter,” said sources.