With the Delhi Assembly Speaker refusing to relent in the dispute over transfer of an officer, an exasperated Delhi High Court today asked whether the Assembly will collapse without him.
Assembly Secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara’s repatriation to All India Radio by the Lieutenant Governor is being contested by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel.
“Will the Delhi Legislative Assembly collapse without him? Why should you (Speaker) come and fight for him,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said and added “no officer is so important that two senior functionaries are fighting over him”.
The court made the observation in response to the contention on behalf of the Speaker that All India Radio (AIR) would not collapse if the Secretary, Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara, is not repatriated there.
The court also did not approve of the application filed by Goel seeking a stay on the ex-parte disciplinary proceedings going on against Suryadevara at AIR for not joining back there and for writing an article, ‘Neither Office, Nor Profit’.
“From day one I told you (Speaker) I will not permit you to fight his (Suryadevara) battle,” the judge said.
The court also said the official can file a separate plea if he is aggrieved by the disciplinary proceedings.
The lawyer appearing for Suryadevara said he has been “sandwiched between two masters” and “it is a battle which has been thrust upon me”.
The Lieutenant Governor’s office represented by additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, meanwhile, told the court that it has been again decided to repatriate the official back to AIR.
LG Anil Baijal had on March 20 refused to differ with the decision taken by his predecessor Najeeb Jung, the lawyer said.
The court had earlier left it to the incumbent LG to decide whether or not to review the order relieving Suryadevara.
It had decided to await the LG’s decision as talks between Speaker Goel and the Director General of AIR to find an amicable solution had failed.
Naushad and the lawyer for AIR also opposed the application by the Speaker, saying it was a “surrogate” or “proxy” litigation.
The lawyer appearing for the Speaker later conceded that the application may have overstated the case by seeking stay of the disciplinary proceedings against Suryadevara.
The court, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing on April 27.
Suryadevara, an officer belonging to Newsreader-cum- Translator (Telugu) cadre, was deputed to the Delhi Assembly for a year after which the then LG Najeeb Jung had ordered relieving him.
Goel, however, had refused to relieve the official, insisting since the Speaker also holds a constitutional office, the LG cannot repatriate the Assembly secretary without his concurrence.
Suryadevara had earlier served in the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker for five years and that of the Rajya Sabha Chairman for over six years.