A senior Himachal Administrative Services (HAS) Officer,who reportedly refused to sign orders and allegedly toe a particular line in the State Election Commission,has been shunted out and told to look for a new posting from the governments personnel department.
Gopal Sharma was recently posted as a secretary in the State Election Commission – an independent institution tasked with conducting panchayat elections and the states urban local body polls. He had written to Chief secretary Sudripta Roy expressing his inability to work in the commission. Before the state government passed any orders on his request,however,the Commission directed the officer to leave and report back to the personnel department.
States Principal secretary (personnel) SKBS Negi confirmed that Sharma has been shifted back by the commission even before the government could take a final view on his request to leave the poll body – where Sharma had certain problems in his functioning . We will examine the issue and take an appropriate decision regarding a replacement but the situation is not healthy as normally its the government that should be incharge of postings and transfers of the officers not any other agency, Negi maintained.
The issue,however,relates to service extension granted to a senior official,who has been working with the Commission despite having retired six months back. The head of the Commission reportedly gave his nod for the service extension without recommending his case to the administrative department or the government.
With the senior officers extension period set to end this month,the issue has taken centre-stage again. Another problem has been regarding appointments to the state poll body. While Gopal Sharma has signed orders relating to appointments only some days back,on the service extension issue,he allegedly annoyed his seniors by not taking a firm stand.
Reliable sources said that the government is now contemplating recovering six months salary and other benefits drawn by the officer,who was allowed to continue in service after his retirement.
Gopal Sharma,on the other hand,is to get a new posting.