The Supreme Court on Friday directed that all day-to-day work of the public broadcaster would be handled jointly by a three-member team consisting of its CEO and Members (Finance and Personnel) in accordance with a Delhi High Court order.
A bench comprising justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik clarified that the Delhi High Court’s order for appointment of a three-member committee to handle day-to-day affairs of the Corporation will be applicable till it decides CEO B.S. Lalli’s appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict.
The court passed the order after it was pointed out that Prasar Bharati secretariat has already passed the order in compliance with the High Court’s verdict.
“Until further order, it is made clear that the direction in the office order of August 20, 2009 issued by Prasar Bharti secretariat under the signature of its CEO stating that all executive powers delegated by the board to the sub-committee comprising the CEO, Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) shall be implemented,” the bench said.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. Lalli, challenging the HC order which had directed that the day-to-day work of the public broadcaster would be handled by a three-man team consisting the CEO, Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) of the Board.
In its interim order on August 24, 2009, the Supreme Court had allowed a CVC inquiry into the alleged financial irregularity of the Corporation as directed by the High Court but had stayed the part of the order in which the HC had appointed a retired judge as an observer for the board meeting.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha informed the court that the CVC report has been received and it has been referred to the Law ministry for its view.
The bench, however, said that it has nothing to do with that report at present and favoured implementation of the direction relating to the day-to-day functioning of the Prasar Bharati by the three-member Board.
At the outset, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) opposed the plea of Mr. Lalli’s counsel seeking two weeks’ time to file a rejoinder in the matter and brought to the notice of the court the CVC report which allegedly made adverse remarks against the Prasar Bharti CEO.
He submitted that the CVC report makes it clear that there have been large-scale financial irregularities in the functioning of the public broadcaster.
Alleging that Mr. Lalli had abused the interim order of the Supreme Court, Mr. Bhushan submitted that the irregularities relating to the contract of the Commonwealth Games have also surfaced as he had entered into the contract by himself.
Meanwhile, the court granted three weeks’ time to Mr. Lalli for filing his rejoinder to the response filed by the CPIL on his petition against the Delhi High court order.