Special Correspondent

On presidential reference, it recommends action for misconduct

  • She was arrested on a complaint of exam malpractices
  • She didn't inform PSC of her daughter applying for 2002 exam

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court has recommended to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that Sayalee Sanjeev Joshi, member of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission, be removed from service for misconduct and misbehaviour.

    Ms. Joshi, along with 21 persons, was arrested in June 2003 in a case registered on a PSC complaint of malpractices in the 1999 examination.

    Suspended

    The Governor placed her under suspension and requested the President to initiate action against her. The President made a reference to the Supreme Court on December 12, 2003 under Article 317 of the Constitution (removal and suspension of a PSC member) asking whether her suspension was proper and whether she could be removed for misconduct.

    One of 4 charges proved

    On the suggestion of the Attorney-General, the court framed four charges against her. After examining several witnesses, a Bench comprising Justices B.P. Singh, Tarun Chatterjee and P.K. Balasubramanyan held that one of the four charges was proved.

    Justice Balasubramanyan said, "The respondent has not behaved in a manner befitting a member of a constitutional body like the Public Service Commission and under the circumstances we answer the reference made by the President in the affirmative only as regards charge No. 3 [she did not inform the Commission of the making of applications by her daughter for appearing in the 2002 examination]."

    Not informing the Commission would amount to misconduct, the Bench held.

    PSC has fallen from grace

    "There is no doubt that the PSC has clearly fallen from grace and the exalted status it enjoys under the Constitution. That one scam after another should erupt in respect of such a constitutional body is a very disturbing aspect. If constitutional institutions fail in their duties or stray from the straight and narrow path, it would be a great blow to democracy, a system of governance that we have given unto ourselves, and the great vision our constitutional framers had about the future of this country."

    The Bench said: "During our detailed enquiry, we also felt that it is possible that an attempt is also made not to expose everything in connection with the erupted scandal but to sweep at least some of the aspects under the carpet. This is also an unhappy augury for the working of our institutions."