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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

38 HCS officers under lens, may face action

It was in 2004 when these officers were sacked on the orders issued by Punjab and Haryana High Court after the court had cited anomalies in their selection that was held in 2002 and calling their recruitment “wrongful”.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
November 25, 2021 8:30:54 am
The officers in the firing line were recruited during the Om Prakash Chautala government through the then advertised recruitment process.

The Haryana government is planning stern action against 38 Haryana Civil Services (HCS) officers, whose selection had been under a cloud for over 17 years now. The “stern action”, said sources, may even lead to removal of these HCS officials.

The officers in the firing line were recruited during the Om Prakash Chautala government through the then advertised recruitment process.

Haryana Public Service Commission’s former deputy secretary Anil Nagar, who was recently arrested in a cash-for-job scandal by the state vigilance bureau, is also from the same batch of officers.

After the appointment of these contentious officials, a few left out candidates had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while those who were selected had also contested being denied promotions for a long time. Eventually, they were promoted in 2019.

After Punjab and Haryana High Court recently sought Haryana’s reply in the ongoing litigation related to the recruitment of these HCS officers on the petition filed by those who were left out, the state has now issued showcause notices to the officers of this batch who are posted in various departments across the State.

In a recent order on October 28, the High Court had said, “Learned state counsel submits that pursuant to the order dated October 4, 2021, final decision has been taken at the end of the Chief Secretary, but the same is still pending approval with higher authorities. He seeks time to report outcome thereof. In the meanwhile, it is expected that pursuant to the aforesaid pending decision appropriate administrative order will be passed in accordance with law. Let a copy of the order so passed be placed on the court file on or before the next date of hearing.”

The court has listed the case for next hearing on December 2.

An FIR registered against the selection of these officers has also been gathering dust in Vigilance Bureau’s branch in Hisar for over a decade.

CASE FILE
Congress leader Karan Singh Dalal, former MLA from Palwal, had challenged the selection process of 2002 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court when 86 candidates were selected by HPSC during the tenure of the INLD government led by Om Prakash Chautala. The court had found irregularities in the selection process of 38 candidates. He had also taken up the issue in the Supreme Court on the same ground.

It was in 2004 when these officers were sacked on the orders issued by Punjab and Haryana High Court after the court had cited anomalies in their selection that was held in 2002 and calling their recruitment “wrongful”.

In 2016, the BJP government chose not to challenge their disqualification during the a hearing in Punjab and Haryana High Court following which the court issued directions to Haryana Public Services Commission to appoint them and begin their training.

Talking to The Indian Express, Dalal said, “The state government should have issued these showcause notices much earlier. I had initially challenged this recruitment because it was full of favouritism and corruption.

The High Court had earlier also ordered the state vigilance bureau to examine the entire case. The vigilance bureau, in its preliminary report, had also cited major anomalies and corrupt practices adopted in that recruitment, but nothing moved beyond that. As per the service rules, if the vigilance probe is pending against an officer, he/she should not be posted on a sensitive or public dealing post and rather should also not be promoted. But, these officers, because of their pulls and pressures kept going on and on. Several of them continue to occupy plum postings.”

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