Centre Relaxes Age Rule to Let AP Regulator Stay In Job
MHA gives Chandrababu govt immediate clearance to raise retirement age at APSEC, clearing way for Justice G Bhavani to continue in office
New Delhi: When it comes to getting his candidate a top job, there is no stopping Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu – at least not in Centre. He is one ally that Prime Minister Office has clear instructions to respond in double quick time.
Few would know Justice G Bhavani Prasad in Lutyens but he is very important to Naidu as head of the AP St at e El e c t r i c i t y Commission. Important enough for him to amend the State Electricity Act to facilitate his reappointment just like the Modi government amended the TRAI Act to make Nripendra Misra Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
In Prasad’s case it was to increase the retirement age from 65 to 70. He turned 65 on April 9 and in the anticipation the Naidu government moved to amend the relevant state electricity acts on March 26 in the Assembly. But the subject being in the Concurrent List, assent of the Centre was needed. In record time, the matter reached Home Ministry which moved stakeholder departments by March 28.
There is also a question of legal principle involved. Just like in TRAI Act, even heads of electricity regula- held office as such”.
But exceptions were made and the Centre quite rapidly gave its goahead. Now, the Bill is with the Rashtrapati Bhawan because as it turns out, even President Pranab Mukherjee’s consent is mandatory. That has taken a bit longer than the speed at which the Centre moved but Rashtrapati Bhawan declined to comment on the matter.
“The basic idea is to ensure that the Chairman and members can continue in the position for five years for smooth functioning of the Regulatory body. In case of a High Court Judge, they even retire at 62 so such individuals would not be able to continue on the position if appointed,” Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary, Department of Energy, Andhra Pradesh told ET.
Meanwhile, Justice Bhavani Prasad said it was for the state government to decide if they wanted him to continue in the position again or not.
“I have retired and yes there are provisions in the new Bill that allow for reappointment. However, I had not applied even earlier and was appointed by the government in consultation with the Chief Justice. If the system feels the need for something I will see. It is not for me to do so on my own. It is for the state government to decide”, Prasad told ET.