Saturday, July 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Punjab defers ordinance on tainted appointees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Taking no chances on an important and sensitive issue of setting aside “tainted” appointments “ made on the recommendations of the PPSC during the term of Mr Ravi Sidhu as its Chairman, the Punjab Government decided to reconsider the draft of the ordinance it wanted to be approved at a meeting of the Council of Ministers today.

“We do not want to face any embarrassment later because of any loopholes left in the ordinance,” says Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chief Secretary, maintaining that the draft would be vetted again by legal experts before it is put up before the Council of Ministers.

The decision to defer the draft was earlier taken at a meeting presided over by the Chief Secretary and attended, among others, by Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister S.K. Sinha and Mrs Kalpana Mittal Baruah, Secretary (Personnel).

Since the Governor, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), is going abroad for a fortnight, the promulgation of the ordinance will now be possible only after his return by the end of this month. The government is also keen that since the whole issue is before the Punjab and Haryana High Court where its next hearing is on July 29, it should not promulgate of the ordinance in a hurry.

Even at the Council of Ministers’ meeting, the issue cropped up where it was explained that since September 6, 1996, recommendations for appointment of 196 batches in various categories were made by the PPSC covering more than 4,000 appointments.

“We do not want to initiate any action against any batch until the vigilance has completed its investigation. Further, since the appointing authority in different cases are different Administrative Secretaries, the enquiry reports of the Vigilance Bureau would be scrutinised by the department concerned before any terminations are ordered,” said Mr Ratra maintaining that “efforts would be made to ensure that only ‘tainted’ appointees are targeted’.

“This ordinance will be the first of its kind in the country,” said Mr Harbhagwan Singh, Advocate-General. “I was not satisfied with the draft of the ordinance as it had enough loopholes which could have embarrassed the state government later. We want that the draft should be examined again and made foolproof and legally sound.”

Though there has been panic in Punjab in general and among the PPSC appointees during the past five years in particular, this deferment would come as a major relief to many. Experts maintain that it may take longer than a few weeks for the government to get the ordinance promulgated.

Another reason for deferring the promulgation of the ordinance has been the public criticism. The government is keen on dispelling the impression that it has been resorting to witch-hunting.

“The tainted ones must go but at the same time honest and meritorious appointees should not be made to suffer unnecessarily,” remarked a senior functionary of the state administration. “It is better to be slow and cautious than face embarrassment later,” said Mr Ratra.


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