Punjab

High Court set aside appointment of Amrinders’ Principal Chief Secretary Suresh Kumar

January 17, 2018 08:27 PM
Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar and CM Amrinder singh

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday set aside the appointment of Suresh Kumar, chief principal secretary, to Chief Minister Amrinder Singh.

Gurminder had also told the court that terms and conditions of the appointment make it clear that in some matters of immediate nature, the powers of the chief minister get delegated to Kumar when the former is out on tour. He had also said the chief principal secretary to CM has the power to take decisions on his own in the chief minister’s absence.

The court of Justice Rajan Gupta said he was holding the post in violation of Article 166(3) of the Constitution.

The appointment had come under judicial scanner after a petition was filed by advocate Ramandeep Singh through counsel HS Brar. The appointment was challenged on the grounds that it was against the Constitutional scheme and accepted norms.

Referring to the appointment letter laying down terms and conditions, Brar had asserted the tenure of the respondent (Suresh Kumar) was made co-terminus with the government.

A number of legal questions had cropped up during the hearings in the case including on the delegation of power of the chief minister when he is not at the headquarters, and whether Kumar can be accorded the powers of a cadre officer when his position in the government is neither cadre nor non-cadre. The counsel representing the petitioner, senior advocate Gurminder Singh, had argued that the appointment is against the constitutional norms as it was done without the approval of the Governor.

Gurminder had also told the court that terms and conditions of the appointment make it clear that in some matters of immediate nature, the powers of the chief minister get delegated to Kumar when the former is out on tour. He had also said the chief principal secretary to CM has the power to take decisions on his own in the chief minister’s absence.

Former Solicitor General of India and Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was representing the government, had defended Kumar’s appointment and countered the question on delegation of power. He said the chief principal secretary is first required to speak with the chief minister over the phone when the latter is not present at the headquarters, and then decide on cases requiring immediate attention.

 

 

The 1983-batch officer is known to speak his mind while talking with top-political executives. He was Principal Secretary to Capt Amarinder Singh during his earlier tenure as Chief Minister from 2002 to 2007.

Having handled all top portfolios in the state like irrigation, power and Additional Chief Secretary (Development), he is well versed in running the administration.

When Parkash Singh Badal was elected Chief Minister in 2007, he had retained Kumar in the important portfolio of irrigation and power.

Suresh Kumar retired as Additional Chief Secretary (Development) in April 2016.

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