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Punjab govt files appeal against quashing of Suresh Kumar’s appointment

Suresh Kumar, a 1983-batch retired IAS officer, was appointed immediately after the Congress government took over the state’s reins in March last year.

punjab Updated: Feb 10, 2018 09:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab govt,govt files appeal,Suresh Kumar
Suresh Kumar(HT File )

The Punjab government on Friday filed appeal before a division bench of Punjab and Haryana high court challenging the decision of a single-judge bench quashing the appointment of Suresh Kumar as chief principal secretary to chief minister Amarinder Singh.

The single-judge bench had held that Kumar was holding the public office without authority. Kumar, a 1983-batch retired IAS officer, was appointed immediately after the Congress government took over the state’s reins in March last year. The post, created for the first time in Punjab, was stated to be equivalent to the Union cabinet secretary.

“Kumar was not performing any sovereign function of a state…He could not have taken decisions pertaining to departments held by the CM as these are taken by the administrative secretaries.”—The government, in its appeal

The government has argued that Kumar was not performing any sovereign function of a state. There was no action possible by Kumar unless the same is first decided by the chief minister but where he had to take a decision (when Captain is on tour), it was ex-post facto approval so that directions of the CM are executed in true spirit, it further said. The government has argued that Kumar could not have taken decisions pertaining to departments held by the chief minister as these are taken by the administrative secretaries.

The single-judge bench had held that overriding powers were given to Kumar. “Accountability is very important in public appointments which was ‘missing’ in this case and any lapse by him cannot be questioned by any disciplinary authority,” the bench had ruled.

The government has reiterated that Kumar could not have taken any decision all by himself. It was informed to the court and same argument should have been accepted by the court since no such decision was taken, the government said. The state has claimed that Kumar was merely principal staff officer to CM to provide administrative efficiency and his appointment was not against a cadre post. As of equating his appointment to that of a cabinet secretary, the government said merely because a person has been appointed on the rank and pay of a particular position does not mean that the person is occupying that position.

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It has also argued that the petition was filed under the guise of public interest. The petition was filed by the petitioner that too for which he was not eligible and petition itself was not maintainable under the provisions, he chose to file, it said. The appointment was challenged by a Mohali resident Ramandeep Singh in August 2016, alleging that a public office has been usurped by a retired IAS officer. Singh has already moved court demanding that he be heard before any order challenging the single-judge bench decision is passed.

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 09:58 IST