The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday stayed the Punjab government’s decision to remove Mangal Singh Sandhu as the officiating Punjab agriculture director. Taking up Sandhu’s petition, Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia also issued a notice to the Punjab government to file its reply by October 16.
Sandhu had been reportedly removed by the state government on September 17 for allegedly purchasing a pesticide which failed to control the whitefly attack on cotton crop. It was alleged that Sandhu had bought the pesticide, not even recommended by Punjab Agriculture University, at prices higher than the prevailing market price.
In his petition, however, Sandhu had submitted that he had been in the post since 2011 as he was the senior-most joint director. He added that the state government withdrew his officiating charge and handed it over as additional charge to a junior officer, Gurdial Singh.
It was further added that the petitioner has not been given any posting and a junior officer has been made superior to him without assigning any reason.
It was submitted that the petitioner has an unblemished service record to his credit and had been granted two years’ service extension till April 30, 2016, as officiating director of agriculture department.