Centre-Delhi row upsets HC

‘Why can’t the two govts resolve matters amicably without coming to court?’

January 07, 2017 01:09 am | Updated 01:09 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The High Court on Friday expressed its disappointment over a tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over a repatriation of a bureaucrat and wondered why such matters are brought to the court rather than being resolved amicably.

Court’s observation

The court made the observation while hearing a petition by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel who has challenged former Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung’s order repatriating Delhi Assembly Secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara, an officer belonging to Newsreader-cum-Translator (Telugu) cadre, to All India Radio (AIR), his parent organisation.

Notices issued

The court issued notices to the Centre, Prasanna Kumar and the Delhi government seeking their replies by January 17, and asked the Centre not to insist on repatriation of the bureaucrat till then. The Centre accepted the same.

“A Speaker coming to court is an extraordinary circumstance. This should not be thrashed out in court. He is not such an officer that two governments [Delhi and Centre] should fight over him. Why cannot it be resolved amicably without either party coming to court,” asked Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva.

Mr. Goel has in his petition contended that the L-G cannot repatriate the officer without his agreement, while also challenging the memorandums issued by AIR to Prasanna Kumar directing him to join his parent organisation immediately, failing which his absence would be treated as “unauthorised”.

L-G ordered repatriation

Prasanna Kumar has served in the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker for five years and that of the Rajya Sabha Chairman for over six years. He was appointed the Delhi Assembly Secretary in July 2015 for a tenure of one year on expiry of which AIR had directed him to return.

AIR then turned down Speaker’s request for his extension following which the L-G ordered his repatriation. The Speaker, however, refused to relieve him.

Conduct Rules violation?

AIR had also issued a show-cause notice to the bureaucrat on why action for “misconduct” should not be initiated against him over a newspaper article written by him in June – ‘Neither Office, Nor Profit’ – finding it “critical” of the Centre, which is in “violation of the Conduct Rules”.

This too has been challenged by Mr. Goel in his plea, but the court said the notice should be challenged by the officer himself and not the Speaker.

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