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IAS post recommendation: CAT stays Haryana govt’s move

HT had exclusively reported how at least three with Outstanding ACRs of past five years were rejected to make way for the education minister’s daughter.

punjab Updated: Dec 05, 2017 12:38 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Indian Administrative Service,Central Administrative Tribunal,UPSC
(Representative Image)

A fortnight after HT exclusively reported that Haryana government shortlisted the kin of state BJP leaders from among the non-state civil service officers to fill up an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) seat, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) stayed the government’s move.

The Chandigarh bench of CAT on Monday passed an interim order wherein it has stayed the recommendation of five names to UPSC and “restrained the UPSC from finalising the final select list”.

The tribunal also issued notice to the Haryana chief secretary and the UPSC to respond within two weeks. The matter will now come up for hearing on December 20.

Sonepat resident Surender Singh Dahiya, 50, working as an additional director of Haryana’s agricultural department moved the tribunal demanding that the recommendations of the screening committee for appointment be set aside and that the UPSC be directed to restrain from finalising the list of selected candidates.

The main contention was that Asha Sharma, medical officer,who happens to be the daughter of education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, was not eligible and did not qualify or fulfil the criteria of having an “outstanding record in the past five years” as per rules and regulations of the IAS Regulations, 1997, pertaining to recruitment. Yet, her name was recommended by the selection committee for appointment.

On the other hand, the applicant, Dahiya claimed he had more than 25 publications and four appreciation letters issued by the government of Haryana and district administration, for outstanding work in various fields,and nine trainings with national and international organisations, much more than Sharma.

The CAT order also stated that Sharma remained on Child Care Leave from January 15 to March 15, 2015, and thus the rest of the period was less than three months and that no report could be recorded for a period of less than three months. Before this, she remained on earned leave from December 1 to December 20,2014.

The matter is argued by Rajesh Garg and Nimrita Shergill.

The case

The Manohar Lal Khattar government had shortlisted the names of kin of two front-line Haryana BJP leaders to fill-up one Indian Administrative Service (IAS) seat from among the non-state civil service officers. The 42-year-old Dr Asha Sharma, and Lajpat Rai, 56, brother of Santosh Yadav, deputy speaker Vidhan Sabha, are at first and second position in the list of five candidates that the state government has recommended to the Union Public Service Commission. The matter was exclusively reported by the Hindustan Times on November 21.

While Dr Sharma (MBBS) is a medical officer, Rai is a general manager in Haryana roadways. Other three candidates in the fray are Parveen Sethi (Director Dental Health Services); Dr Rakesh Talwar (in-charge of health facilities at Haryana Raj Bhawan); and Vijender Singh (district town and country planner).

In last year’s panel also, the state government had recommended Dr Sharma by placing her on top of other candidates. Butthe UPSC had cancelled the process stating “deficient documents/information” from the state government.

Given the criterion followed by the state government in preparing the panel, the selection procedure is perceived to be prone to political pulls and is akin to backdoor entry to the elite IAS.

The candidates having eight years service in a Class-1 post, equal to the rank of deputy collector, were shortlisted on the basis of their past five years Annual Confidential Report (ACR), in what is a highly subjective selection process and the easiest—to become an IAS officer.

Chief minister Khattar had set up chief secretary DS Dhesi-led screening committee comprising Trilok Chand Gupta, principal secretary and Neerja Sekhar, secretary (personnel) to shortlist names.

“The meeting of the screening committee was held on October 13, 2017...The committee decided to consider five preceding years’ annual confidential reports of the officers...and after considering the same the committee has recommended the names of following officers for consideration of the UPSC,” reads October 16 file noting.

The UPSC, otherwise was to hold interviews in December. The interview board comprises one UPSC member, besides Haryana chief secretary and one senior IAS officer of Haryana cadre.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 12:38 IST