EC seeks report on Chatterjee’s suspension
Chandigarh, February 15
According to reliable sources, taking suo motu notice of a report published in The Tribune today, the commission has written to the Chief Secretary, Mr Sunil Ahuja, to send it a complete report of circumstances under which Mr Chatterjee was placed under suspension. The commission has asked Mr Ahuja to send the report to it by 11.30 a.m. tomorrow.
A meeting of the full commission was held in Delhi today to consider the Haryana Government's request for relaxing the ban on appointments. The request was made after a Cabinet meeting held here on February 13, at which the Chief Secretary and certain other officers had told the Chief Minister and his colleagues that without the permission of the Election Commission it would not be possible for them to issue appointment letters.
The Chief Minister had earlier intimidated the Chief Secretary on the appointments issue at the Cabinet meeting held on February 11.
The sources say the commission has sought additional information from the government in regard to appointments it wants to make. The information is to be given to Meanwhile, IAS officers of Haryana, particularly the younger lot, are agitated over the suspension of Mr Chatterjee and the maltreatment meted out to Mr Ahuja by the political leadership. Several officers met informally today to discuss the issue.
The sources say 28 officers have signed a requisition for convening a meeting of the Haryana IAS Officers Association at an early date. The requisition has been submitted to the Chief Secretary, who is also the president of the association.
According to the constitution of the association, 20 members can requisition a meeting of the general body.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders have condemned the suspension of Mr Chatterjee. The president and the working president of the Haryana Congress, Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Randeep Surjewala, have described the government’s action as an attempt to intimidate the bureaucracy.
A former Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, regretted that constitutional authorities like the Central Government, the Election Commission and the Governor had failed to control the Chief Minister, who was running the state like his fiefdom even when his status was like that of a caretaker head of the government. He alleged that it was “jungle raj” in Haryana under the INLD government.
Mr Bansi Lal said if President’s rule was not imposed in Haryana, Mr Chautala would play havoc with the public exchequer before the completion of the election process.
A former Haryana Congress president and MP from Rohtak, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, today met the Election Commission and demanded that only the para-military forces should be deployed at those booths where repoll would be held on February 23. He also urged the commission not to accept the Haryana Government’s request for relaxation of the ban on appointments as this, he said, would be misused by Mr Chautala.
The Congress MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, also wrote to the commission against the suspension of Mr Chatterjee and the alleged intimidation of the bureaucracy by Mr Chautala.
Mr Chander Mohan, Congress MLA from Kalka, also urged the Governor to put Haryana under President’s rule to save the people of the state from the “misrule of Mr Chautala and to safeguard the democratic values and conventions.”
An IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, Mr Sanjiv Kumar, who was the first to raise the banner of revolt against Mr Chautala by going to the Supreme Court on the issue of the alleged irregularities in the appointment of JBT teachers, said the suspension of Mr Chatterjee had vindicated his stand that Mr Chautala harassed honest officers.
Meanwhile, in another related development, the Election Commission has decided to become a party in all those cases in which the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been prayed to issue directions to the government to appoint persons selected by various recruitment agencies. The commission has retained Mr Manmohan Sareen, a senior advocate, to represent it. It is learnt that on the request of Mr Sareen, in nine such cases which came up before the High Court today, notices have been issued for March 1.