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Punjab information commissioner sacked for holding ‘office of profit’

Punjab government said she should have put in papers as a professor in the university and her resignation should have been accepted before she took oath as the commissioner.

punjab Updated: Aug 07, 2018 10:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
office of profit,Punjab,Punjab government
Viney Kapur Mehra (HT File )

The Punjab government on Monday sacked Viney Kapur Mehra from the post of commissioner of the Punjab State Information Commission for holding an office of profit at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar.

Mehra is a professor in the department of laws at GNDU.

Quoting provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005, that an information commissioner cannot hold any office of profit while being in the post, the additional chief secretary (governance reforms) NS Kalsi passed the orders for her removal last week.

The act says, “State chief information commissioner or a state information commissioner shall not be a member of Parliament or member of legislature of any state or union territory, as in case may not hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.”

The orders said Prof Mehra did not inform the government about continuing her job with the university. Technically, she should have resigned from the university and the resignation should have been duly accepted before she took oath. She also remained head of the department.

It also pointed that the leave to Kapur was sanctioned in anticipation of the approval of the university syndicate which was finally granted on September 20, 2016. No copy of letter was endorsed to either government or the commission. She joined the commission on September 8, 2016, 12 days before sanctioning of her leave.

Kapur had in October and November of 2016 submitted before the government that there have been precedents wherein the Punjab Public Service Commission and human right commission have had members on deputation. Her plea was declined.

After an opinion from the state advocate general, Kapur’s case for removal was placed before the Punjab governor, the competent authority to take such decisions, who gave his approval. With her removal, one post has fallen vacant in the commission which has 10 commissioners besides the chief information commissioner.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 09:51 IST