The Punjab and Haryana high court issues notices to the Haryana government & former CM
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court headed by the acting Chief Justice Ashutosh Mohunta has issued notices to the Harana government and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Hearing two separate petitions challenging the appointments to the State Information Commission (SIC) and state Right to Service Commission, the bench has asked them to file their replies by December 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. The petitions were fled by M K Sehgal, a resident of Yamunanagar district and People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a NGO seeking to quash the appointments.Hooda was the chairman of the statutory committee that cleared the appointment of his former additional principal secretary Shiv Raman Gaur; wife of his political adviser Virender Singh, Rekha Rani; and husband of a sitting high court judge Amar Singh, as state information commissioners (SICs). In respect of the Right to Service Commission, he had cleared the appointment of former chief secretary S C Chaudhary, former IAS Sarban Singh, Lt Gen Virender Singh Tonk and Sunil Katyal in July 2014.
PUCL contended that these appointments were made by the statutory committee chaired by Hooda and was attended by only one oher member, the education minister Geeta Bhukkal. The corum requires three members, the third member being the leader of the Opposition Om Prakash Chautala who did not attend the meeting but recorded his dissent in a note. Further, the chief minister himself administered the oath of office to the two selected state information commissioners instead of the same being administered by the Governor who is the appointing authority. Thus, alleging that the appointments were in violation of the statutory provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the petitioners have demanded that the same made by the Hooda government may be quashed.