M A I N   N E W S

HC quashes selection of seven DSPs
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 15
In a major setback to the Punjab Government, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today set aside the controversial selection of seven candidates as Deputy Superintendents of Police by the Government made recently under the sportspersons’ category.

The candidates included Bikram Inderjit Singh Chahal and Gulzar Singh, sons of Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, and Mr Harinder Chahal, Ferozepore Senior Superintendent of Police, respectively.

Others whose selection has been set aside are Vimmy Singh, Gagan Inder Singh, Major R.S. Ahluwalia, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Palwinder Singh Cheema.

The selection had been made by a committee headed by Punjab Principal Secretary (Home) S.K. Sinha, Director-General of Police A.A. Siddiqui and Sports Department Secretary.

Various petitioners had filed petitions in the High Court challenging the selections on the grounds that in spite of being genuine sportspersons, the petitioners had been ignored in the selection by making a tailor-made criteria to facilitate the selection of favoured candidates. The High Court had also entertained a PIL challenging the advertisement issued for the selections as being unsustainable in law.

The selections raised a stink after it came to light that the selection criteria had been fixed to suit the children of the high and mighty.

In a hard-hitting judgement, which was pronounced today in open court, the Full Bench of the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla and Mr Justice Surya Kant also struck down the criteria framed by the selection committee and the Punjab Sports Department for the selections.

The Bench also quashed the notification issued by the Punjab Government in January, 2004, wherein ex-cadre posts had been created in excess of the posts cleared by the Cabinet saying the same was not in consonance with the Cabinet decision in this regard. The Punjab Cabinet decision was only meant to accommodate the officers who had been reverted following the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Bench also quashed all proceedings in pursuance of the notification which resulted in the selections.

Declaring the criteria adopted while making the selections as arbitrary, the Court also directed the Punjab Sports Department to frame fresh criteria for selection of sportspersons.

The Bench also imposed costs of Rs 50,000 to be paid by the selected candidates. Apart from Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Palwinder Singh Cheema, whom the Bench described as genuine sports persons, all the remaining five selected candidates would have to pay Rs 10,000 each, the Court ordered.

The High Court, while leaving the decision to merge the ex-cadre posts with cadre posts for the Punjab Government, said these posts would be filled only by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).

However, in case the government decides not to merge these posts into the cadre posts, then persons appointed on these posts will not have seniority and other benefits comparable to those enjoyed by officers holding cadre posts.

During hearing in the bunch of petitions, including a PIL, challenging the “arbitrary” and “illegal” selections, counsel for the petitioners informed the Court how the selection process had been tailored to suit the kin of the powerful.

Senior Advocate H.S. Mattewal had told the court that while deserving candidates, including Olympians, were left out, undeserving persons were selected.


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