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

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Anubhuti Vishnoi & Rahul Tri­pathi

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.

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