The Allahabad High Court on Friday directed Anita Singh,secretary to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav,to explain the functioning of the Civil Service Board (CSB),a non-statutory body that deals with transfers of senior IAS officials. Anita Singh is one of the members of the CSB.
The courts direction came while hearing a PIL alleging that Himanshu Kumar was transferred within 24 hours from the post of Commissioner (Allahabad) because he had decided to take action against illegal silica sand mafia in Shankergarh area of the district. Kumar had taken over on June 7 and was transferred on June 8.
The court also said that Kumars transfer order of June 8 would be subject to the final outcome of the petition. It fixed July 19 as the next date of hearing.
Although not expressing a final opinion on the matter,the court questioned the manner in which the transfers of senior IAS officials were being done by the CSB,without having any prepared agenda before meeting to take up transfer issues.
The court said that it tentatively doubted whether entire facts had been produced before it. Some of the documents related to Kumars transfer,the court noted,did not even have the signature of the Chief Minister,though it was shown that he had given his approval.
The CSB comprises the Chief Secretary,Principal Secretary (Appointment and Personnel) and other senior IAS officials,including secretary to the Chief Minister.
On June 14,the court had directed the Secretary (Appointment) to produce original records related to Kumars transfer within 24 hours. Kumar is currently posted as secretary in the Finance Department.
The PIL was filed by Om Dutta Singh,former general secretary of PUCL (Uttar Pradesh),alleging that Kumar was transferred because he dared to take action against illegal silica sand miners in Shankergarh.
The court has,for the time being,directed the Allahabad district authorities to ensure that no illegal mining is carried out in Shankergarh. It has also directed that the illegal silica sand seized by the authorities should not be transported anywhere without the prior permission of the court.
Illegal silica sand to the tune of 1.69 lakh cubic metres was seized in Shankergarh area on June 6.
When Kumar took over on June 7,he deputed an officer of the level of Additional District Magistrate to inquire into the matter. On June 8,he was transferred.