Puducherry

Puducherry Assembly Committee on Privileges summons Chief Secretary

Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar waiting outside the Committee hall for the proceedings

Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar waiting outside the Committee hall for the proceedings   | Photo Credit: S. S. KUMAR

The summons were part of the proceedings against the Chief Secretary for floating an advertisement to appoint a State Election Commissioner in violation of a ruling

The Assembly Committee on Privileges on Monday summoned Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar as part of the proceedings against him for floating an advertisement to appoint a State Election Commissioner in violation of a ruling given by Speaker V. P Sivakolundhu.

The Committee, headed by Deputy Speaker M.N.R Balan, inquired with the Chief Secretary about the circumstances leading to the floating of the advertisement despite an Assembly resolution giving powers to the elected government to appoint the SEC. Further proceedings would be initiated after internal deliberations, a government source told The Hindu.

Mr. Kumar is the second Chief Secretary in the Union Territory to be summoned by the Privileges Committee. In 2009, the Committee had initiated proceedings against then Chief Secretary Rakesh Behari for making certain disrespectful remarks against Ministers and legislators during an internal official meeting. The proceedings were stopped in between as Behari moved out of the UT, the source added..

The Committee began proceedings on the SEC appointment issue earlier this month after Congress legislator T. Djeamourthy complained about breach of privilege by officials in the appointment of the poll officer.

On January 14, the Committee as a first move questioned Under Secretary, Local Administration, Giddi Balaram, under whose name the advertisement appeared in newspapers on January 7. Based on his reply, the Committee has also questioned Director, LAD, G. Malar Kannan and Secretary, LAD Ashok Kumar.

The government had appointed former bureaucrat T. M Balakrishnan, last year, as SEC after Speaker V. P Sivakolundhu gave a ruling bestowing power to appoint the election officer with the elected government.

The Speaker, while giving his ruling, had also cancelled a similar advertisement floated allegedly at the behest of Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi for the SEC post.

Challenging the appointment made by the government, the Lt Governor had referred the subject to Union Ministry of Home Affairs which in turn directed the Chief Secretary to again start the selection process.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:06:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-assembly-committee-on-privileges-summons-chief-secretary/article30665234.ece

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