Ap­pear be­fore Delhi as­sem­bly pan­els, court tells chief secy

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE - NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: The Delhi high court told chief sec­re­tary An­shu Prakash and two se­nior bureaucrats on Fri­day to ap­pear be­fore two Delhi as­sem­bly pan­els, warn­ing of con­tempt pro­ceed­ings and re­mind­ing them that it had only pro­hib­ited the House from tak­ing co­er­cive ac­tion against them and had at no stage granted them ex­emp­tion from ap­pear­ance.

Prakash had been served a no­tice by the priv­i­leges panel for skip­ping a meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 20, the day af­ter he was al­legedly as­saulted by AAP MLAs Amanat­ul­lah Khan and Prakash Jar­wal.

The HC had asked the pan­els on March 9 not to take co­er­cive steps against the IAS of­fi­cers but on Fri­day the court pointed out: “It is the di­rec­tion of this court that you will have to ap­pear. If you fail to ap­pear, for­get about them (au­thor­i­ties), this court will is­sue con­tempt ac­tion against you.”

In its no­tice, the priv­i­leges com­mit­tee had cited a com­plaint against the chief sec­re­tary by the ques­tion and ref­er­ence (Q&R) com­mit­tee. The Q&R com­mit­tee, too, had served no­tice on two IAS of­fi­cers — JB Singh, regis­trar of co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties, and Shur­bir Singh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Delhi Urban Shel­ter Im­prove­ment Board.

The chief sec­re­tary and the two of­fi­cers had been called to the meet­ing by the Q&R com­mit­tee to ex­am­ine is­sues in which a re­ply from the De­part­ment of Co­op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety was found to be in­com­plete and un­sat­is­fac­tory. The is­sues re­lated to Delhi Na­grik Sahkari Bank Ltd.

Jus­tice Vibhu Bakhru re­minded the bureaucrats that they were of­fi­cers and would have to ap­pear be­fore all the com­mit­tees af­ter the As­sem­bly Speaker’s coun­sel in­formed the court that the three of­fi­cers were nei­ther ap­pear­ing be­fore the com­mit­tees nor pro­vid­ing the in­for­ma­tion sought from them. The Speaker al­leged that the of­fi­cers were tak­ing un­due ad­van­tage of the court’s ear­lier or­der re­strain­ing the au­thor­i­ties from tak­ing ac­tion against them, and had be­come un­re­spon­sive. Jus­tice Bakhru then made it clear that “the pe­ti­tion­ers (bureaucrats) shall par­tic­i­pate in the pro­ceed­ings of the pan­els with­out prej­u­dice to their rights and con­tentions”.

The court had ear­lier di­rected the com­mit­tees not to take any co­er­cive ac­tion against the bureaucrats till the pen­dency of the pe­ti­tions and had also or­dered that the pro­ceed­ings of the panel meet­ings be video-graphed.

An­shu Prakash

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