Corridors of the police HEADQUARTERS ARE ABUZZ with intense discussion on the fate of the State police chief

After the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam petitioned the Election Commission demanding the transfer of Director-General of Police K. Ramanujam out of the State, corridors of the police headquarters are witness to intense discussions on the possible outcome. The appointment of Mr. Ramanujam was based on Supreme Court guidelines in the Prakash Singh case which said that an officer appointed as DGP of a State shall hold office for a tenure not less than two years irrespective of the date of superannuation.

Mr. Ramanujam became the first beneficiary of this norm after he was made the DGP of Tamil Nadu days before his retirement. Now the DMK has alleged that the incumbent officer is on extension without specific approval from the Centre.

In case the EC shifts Mr. Ramanujam, it would have to appoint another DGP in compliance with the apex court guidelines, which means that the new DGP would also have tenure of two years irrespective of the date of superannuation. In that event, where would Mr. Ramanujam, who still has nine months to go, be accommodated?

Elective exemption

To every rule, there seems to be an exception. Going by the Election Commission’s diktat, no officer connected with elections, directly or indirectly, should be allowed to continue in the same place beyond three years with the cut-off date of May 31.

The Commission’s circular to State governments goes on to state that the instruction is meant for “officers appointed for specific election duties like District Election officers, Deputy District Election officer, Returning officers and Assistant Returning officers.” But, does this rule cover Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), who heads the Public (Elections) department and functions as the link between the Commission and the State government?

Praveen Kumar, who belongs to the 1987 batch of the IAS, has been serving as CEO since August 2010. However, an officer at the headquarters of the Commission clarifies that the rule is, indeed, not applicable to CEOs. Another official points out that in Tamil Nadu, there were CEOs who held the post for more than three years. D.K. Oza and Naresh Gupta are among them. It is another matter that none of the serving DEOs is covered under this rule. These officials have been occupying the post after the present government took charge in May 2011.

No musical chair

The big buzz in the health sector in Tamil Nadu these days is about who will be the next director of the new multi-specialty hospital coming up in the Omandurar Estate. With most of the specialists’ positions being filled, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa getting back strongly at political parties that raised controversies about hiring without paying heed to the reservation rule, the question assumes greater significance. Over 30 applications have been sent in, according to loud whispers in the corridors of power. These have come in are senior doctors who retired from management positions, serving heads of departments, and other people in key posts in the health service. The word, though, is that the Chief Minister herself will pick the candidate for this coveted post, not only because of controversies, but also because this project of building an AIIMS-like institution is said to be close to her heart.

Fair and foul

Recently, the Chennai Corporation recruited a number of candidates for various posts. Apparently, a list of around 25 candidates was allegedly generated by a group of politically influential persons and handed over to the Corporation for inclusion into the selection list. But the Corporation conducted the selection process in a fair manner and completed the exercise on the same day of interview. Many persons on the list failed to get jobs and have reportedly started bothering the politically influential persons for return of money paid. However, some of those who managed to get in on merit now seem to believe that it was their bribe that worked.

(By S. Vijay Kumar, T. Ramakrishnan, Ramya Kannan and Aloysius Xavier Lopez)

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