Thursday, January 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Stay on DCs’ transfer vacated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The ongoing battle between the Election Commission of India and Punjab’s three Deputy Commissioners culminated today with a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court holding that the ECI’s remarks while recommending the transfer of the officers would not be considered “stigmatic or adverse in any manner in their service career”. The court also passed similar orders while delivering verdict on six different petitions filed by other officers including Executive Magistrates and a tehsildar.

Disposing of nine civil writ petitions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, however, ruled that the High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petitions filed by the Deputy Commissioner “as the petitioners ought to have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal for the redressal of their grievance in accordance with the law at the first instance”.

Pronouncing the orders, the Judges ruled: “The recommendation of the transfer of three Deputy Commissioners is squarely covered by Section 14 (1) (b) of the Central Administrative Tribunals Act and the writ petitions of the three IAS officers challenging the recommendations of their transfer is not maintainable in the High Court. A reading of legal provisions leaves no doubt on going through the contents of the writ petitions that the same are misplaced and the remedy, if any, lies in their approaching CAT”.

Regarding the contention of the petitioners’ counsel that the orders were stigmatic, the Bench observed: “No doubt that the recommendations are not happily worded and in order to allay the fears of the petitioners that these remarks may not affect their career in the future, we declare that these recommendations will not be considered stigmatic or adverse in any manner whatsoever in their service career”.

In their detailed order, the Judges added: “The remaining six writ petitions have no force. These are totally devoid of any merit... The recommendations of the Inquiry Officer of the Election Commission that the petitioners should be replaced with persons of integrity and competency will also not be considered adverse or stigmatic to the service careers of these petitioners”.

In their petitions, Kapurthala DC Vivek Aggarwal, Amritsar DC Narinderjit Singh and that of Muktsar K.J.S. Cheema had challenged the recommendation of their transfer and had claimed that the orders were passed without jurisdiction.

Mr Cheema had stated that he was not called upon at any stage, nor was any complaint made against him, before issuance of the impugned directions. Describing the same as “patently stigmatic”, his counsel added that the order “lacked objectivity and was a result of total non-application of mind”.

His counsel had further added that all the complaints received by the petitioner regarding irregularities concerning the special revision of the electoral rolls were dealt without delay and there was no complaint against Mr Cheema alleging inaction.

Arguing before the Bench, counsel for the ECI, on the other hand, had claimed that the courts could not interfere in the transfers of officers as the same was a part of their service condition and the employee had no choice in the matter. He had added that adverse orders had not been passed against the DCs.

Counsel for the state of Punjab had asserted that the administration was in the favour of conducting fair and free poll, but “horses should not be changed in the middle of the race”.Back


EC orders appointment of 3 DCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Punjab Election Commission today ordered the appointment of new Deputy Commissioners for Muktsar, Kapurthala and Amritsar districts after the Punjab and Haryana High Court vacated the stay on the transfer of the present incumbents.

The commission ordered the appointment of Mr Babu Lal, Mr S.S. Puri and Mr Roshan Sankharia as new Deputy Commissioners of Muktsar, Amritsar and Kapurthala, respectively. The Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Ms Usha Sharma, confirmed the appointment of the new DCs.

They would replace Mr K.J.S. Cheema, Mr Narinderjit Singh and Mr Vivek Aggarwal. Back


Sukhbir not to contest: CM
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today took a tactical move to silence his critics within the party and outside by announcing that his son Sukhbir Badal would not contest the forthcoming elections in the state.

Speaking to The Tribune at the palatial residence of the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, after addressing a party rally at the local grain market here this afternoon, Mr Badal said his party was not going to put the junior Badal in the poll arena, without specifying the reasons behind this decision.

Interestingly, it was Mr Sukhbir Badal, who has been repeatedly saying in the recent past that the youth would be given more representation in the forthcoming elections.

However, sources in the party said the move was aimed at tackling any possible criticism had Mr Sukhbir Badal contested the poll. Mr Badal also refused to divulge from where he will contest the elections saying, “The entire Punjab is ours, so I can contest from anywhere. Moreover, it was for the party to decide. Interrupting midway, the Union Minister and senior Akali leader, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, quipped in a lighter vein, he will finalise all candidates and we will decide his candidature.”

Mr Badal was a bit evasive when asked what his party had done for the implementation of the long standing demands of Punjabis, for which the SAD had organised a number of “morchas” before coming to power. “Actully the Congress is to be blamed for making everything so intricate and it will take sometime. We are trying our best and are pursuing the Centre during the past five years. The Centre is so responsive. Look the Congress had stalled the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab,” he said.

He said his party was in touch with the Bahujan Samaj Morcha for forging an alliance and negotiations about seat-sharing was on. “We will release our final list of candidates within two or three days,” he said.

Referring to the problems being faced by the people of border areas in view of the war-like situation, Mr Badal said he had taken up the matter with the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. “I have urged for appropriate compensation to those uprooted from their villages and for those farmers whose lands have been acquired for laying of land mines,” Mr Badal said adding that the Centre Government had agreed to give compensation to the affected people.

“I think there is no need of large scale relief camps as people are preferring to stay with their relatives in place of relief camps,” said Mr Badal who also attended a PAC meeting at the residence but refused to divulge the agenda.”

Addressing a gathering at the grain market here, Mr Badal said the SAD-BJP government had effected major development during its five-year rule.

Lambasting the Congress, Mr Badal said it had divided the people just for ruling them. Having a dig at the Congress, Mr Badal said: “See I am in people listening to their difficulties and Congressmen are still fighting over ticket in Delhi.”

A group of panchayat secretaries who were dismissed from the service following a court decision raised slogans against the Chief Minister.

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Tota Singh, Punjab ministers. Mr Avtaar Singh Hit, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Mohinder Singh Romana were also present.Back

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