The rather peculiar matter in which two deputy collectors were appointed by the state government to the same post of sub-divisional officer (SDO) of Haveli in Pune district on Monday reached the Bombay High Court, which has stayed an order by the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) ruling in favour of one of them.
The MAT order has been stayed by the HC till October 17, when the court will give its verdict.
It all started when transfer orders were issued on September 14 to resident deputy collector of Satara Sanjiv Deshmukh, asking him to join as Haveli SDO in place of Snehal Barge. Accordingly, Deshmukh assumed charge on September 16. However, within hours, fresh orders were issued by the state government that deputy collector Jyoti Late Kadam, posted as Food Distribution Officer in Pune, was being posted as Haveli SDO. The new order also put on hold the government’s own previous order to transfer her to Kolhapur as deputy election officer and kept Deshmukh kept in waiting.
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Deshmukh moved MAT, which gave him interim relief on October 6 and asked him to join as Haveli SDO in the next seven days. In the meantime, Kadam approached the HC, which on Monday stayed the MAT order till October 17.
The post of SDO in Haveli, which has some prestigious land and infrastructure projects, is said to be a coveted one.
However, the public fight between two officials for the post has come as a major embarrassment for the revenue department, which is even weighing the option of “decentralising the power” of this office in some ways.
District Collector Saurabh Rao said they would take up the issue with higher-ups since this had “not reflected well withing the revenue department”.
Several government officials also expressed their unease over the “change in transfer orders in hours” and questioned the transparency of the whole process.
In another controversial order, Dinesh Bhaldar was appointed as Solapur’s food distribution officer but had to make way for another officer from Solapur, Shahaji Pawar, for the post.