Bill to clear hurdles in Misra’s appointment

Nripendra Misra. File photo  

Amid protests by the Trinamool Congress, the government on Friday introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha seeking to remove the legal hurdles in the appointment of the former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

An Ordinance was promulgated on May 28, appointing Mr. Misra to the post.

Just as Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rose to introduce the Bill, senior Trinamool MP Saugata Roy objected to the move saying it was for the first time that an Ordinance had been promulgated “in the interest of just one superannuated government officer and for giving him a government job.”

The TRAI, he explained, was intended to be an independent body and, therefore, the original TRAI Act had stipulated that after retirement, the chairman of the authority would not be allowed to take up any government job to ensure his independence.

By dropping this clause, the independence of the TRAI would be compromised, he argued, as “the next man will come and he will kowtow to the government so that after retirement he will get another plum posting in the government. That is why this Bill should be opposed tooth and nail at this stage.”

Mr. Prasad rejected Mr. Roy’s objections saying there was “no merit” in his arguments. He said the government’s effort was to bring the TRAI on par with other regulators in the economic sector such as the Competition Commission.

The TRAI (Amendment) Bill seeks to replace the Ordinance in which the clause in the original TRAI Act – that bars any chairman or any other member of the authority from taking up any government appointment thereafter -- has been dropped.

Mr. Misra, a 1967-batch retired Uttar Pradesh-cadre IAS officer, joined the Prime Minister’s Office officially on the day the ordinance was promulgated to ensure his appointment had the requisite legal backing.

The amended section in the Act now reads: “The chairperson and the whole-time members shall not, for a period of two years from the date on which they cease to hold office as such, except with the previous approval of the Central government, accept any employment either under the Central government or under any State government; or (b) any appointment in any company in the business of telecommunication service.”

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 10:24:54 PM |

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