TNPSC appointments row | T.N. Governor Ravi returns file recommending ex-DGP as chairperson, again

This is the second time Governor Ravi has returned the T.N. government’s file recommending C. Sylendra Babu to the post of chairman of the TNPSC; the Governor said the nomination process lacked transparency and was inconsistent with Constitutional provisions

Updated - October 24, 2023 04:01 pm IST

Published - October 24, 2023 12:18 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi (left) and former Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu (right). File

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi (left) and former Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu (right). File | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj and K.V. Srinivasan

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi has once again returned to the State government, the file recommending the name of former Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu for appointment as chairman, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC).

Contending that the recommendations were inconsistent with Constitutional provisions and propriety, Mr. Ravi advised the government to send the file afresh “with due regard to constitutional and institutional requirements.”

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Soon after Mr. Babu’s retirement from service on June 30, the State government had sent a proposal recommending his name for the post of chairman of TNPSC, along with a few other names for appointment as members of the body. A couple of months later, the Raj Bhavan returned the file questioning the basis on which the candidates were selected, and also asking whether the guidelines of the Supreme Court had been followed in the process.

According to official sources, though the State government re-sent the file to the Raj Bhavan justifying the recommendations, Mr. Ravi chose to return it again early this month. The Governor said the selection process suffered from certain infirmities. He asked how the applicants become aware of the government’s intention to fill the in the posts of chairman and members of the TNPSC that had been vacant for some time.

Also Read | Ulterior motive behind Ravi rejecting ex-DGP for the post of TNPSC Chairman: DMK leader R.S. Bharathi

“The process is lacking in transparency,” sources, quoting the response of the Governor, said.

Violation of apex court orders 

Referring to the Supreme Court judgment dated January 9, 2017, upholding the order of the Madras High Court and reiterating the need for “a meaningful and effective deliberate process” in the selection of the chairperson and members of the TNPSC, the Governor said such a process was missing and, thus, the T.N. government’s recommendations were in violation of the Supreme Court directions.

Mr. Ravi said Article 316(2) of the Constitution stipulated a term of six years for the members of the Commission subject to an upper age limit of 62 years. “The Civil Services have a pivotal role in fair governance which is vital for democracy. Given the importance of the Public Service Commission in selection of the duty qualified civil servants, the constitutional intent is to give longer terms to the Members of the Commission for its fair, efficient and transparent functioning.”

The Governor said Mr. Babu’s age was 61 years at the time of submission of the application and, if appointed, he would have less than one year in office. Another applicant M. Sivakumar, who was recommended for appointment as a member, was suspended for maladministration at his college and his suspension was upheld by the appellate authority. “A person with such antecedent does not meet the high stands of integrity expected of a member of the Commission,” the sources quoted the Governor as saying in his letter, while returning the file to the State government.

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