HC disapproves of Delhi Speaker-Centre tussle over bureaucrat

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Disapproving of the “fight” between the Delhi Assembly Speaker and the Centre over posting of a bureaucrat, Delhi High Court on Friday said such matters should be resolved amicably without coming to court.

Delhi High CourtThe Speaker, Ram Niwas Goel, has challenged the then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s order repatriating Delhi Assembly Secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara, an officer belonging to Newsreader-cum-Translator (Telugu) cadre, to the All India Radio (AIR), his parent organisation. However, the Speaker had refused to relieve him.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, before whom the matter was listed, said, “A Speaker coming to court is an extraordinary circumstance. This should not be thrashed out in court. He is not such an officer that two governments (Delhi and Centre) should fight over him. Why cannot it be resolved amicably without either party coming to court.”

The court issued notice to the Centre, the bureaucrat and Delhi government, which was made a party in the matter today, and sought their reply by the next date of hearing on 17 January.

The Centre, meanwhile, agreed with the court’s suggestion not to insist on repatriation of the bureaucrat till the next date.

The Speaker had contended that as he also holds a constitutional office, the LG cannot repatriate the Assembly Secretary without his concurrence.

Goel, in his plea, has also challenged the memorandums issued by AIR to Suryadevara directing him to join his parent organisation immediately failing which he will be treated to be on “unauthorised absence”.

The bureaucrat, who has served in the office of the Lok Sabha Speaker for five years and that of the Rajya Sabha Chairman for over six years, was appointed to the post of Delhi Assembly Secretary in July 2015 for a year, on expiry of which AIR had directed him to return.

When the Speaker refused to relieve him and sought his extension for another two more years, AIR turned it down and thereafter, the LG ordered his repatriation.

Despite the LG’s order, the Speaker refused to relieve the bureaucrat.

AIR had also issued a show cause notice to the bureaucrat on why action for “misconduct” should not be initiated against him over a newspaper article written by him in June – ‘Neither Office, Nor Profit’ – finding it “critical” of the Centre, which is in “violation of the Conduct Rules”.

This too has been challenged by Goel in his plea, but the court said this issue has to be taken up by the bureaucrat himself and not the Speaker.

(With inputs from PTI)

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