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Issue of terminated employees reflects schism between Dhami Govt & Vidhan Sabha

Saturday, 26 November 2022 | Gajendra Singh Negi | DEHRADUN

The VS secretariat puts former speakers, CM Dhami & Govt on dock for ad hoc appointments in the special appeal in HC

The quashing of the stay imposed by the Uttarakhand High Court single bench on the termination order of 228 ad hoc employees of Vidhan Sabha by the HC double bench on Thursday has come as a setback for the terminated employees who are now contemplating to take the matter to the Supreme Court. However, the issue appears to have exposed a schism between the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha and the Pushkar Singh Dhami government.

While challenging the stay imposed by the HC single bench on its termination decision, the Vidhan Sabha secretariat in its special appeal in the court had made the Uttarakhand government one of the parties. In the appeal, the State of Uttarakhand (Finance secretary) has been made respondent number three while the State of Uttarakhand through its Personnel secretary is made respondent number four along with two of the terminated employees who had approached the court. The plea of the Vidhan Sabha in itself is a document that puts the BJP government and the former speaker (who currently is a cabinet minister) on the dock for their actions on the issue.

It also mentions that despite the objections of the Personnel and Finance departments, the chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami exercised his special power of deviation (Vichalan) on behalf of the cabinet on January 6 this year to approve the ad hoc appointments in Vidhan Sabha.  In their views recorded on the file both the Finance and Personnel departments had stated that approval to ad hoc appointments cannot be given in view of the Government Order (GO) of February 6, 2003.

Countering the contention made by the former speakers and the government that ad hoc employees should be appointed as there was an urgent need of staff in Vidhan Sabha, the secretariat of Vidhan Sabha in its plea in court mentioned, “These ad hoc appointments were ordered to be made by the then hon’ble speakers in spite of the report of Vidhan Sabha secretariat these ad hoc appointments could not be made as per the service rules and Government Orders.”  It further mentions that while making these appointments there is no record on files to show that they were made to meet any administrative exigency or emergency. Deflating the contention of former speakers about administrative exigency for these appointments, the Vidhan Sabha secretariat mentions that the former speaker had never sent any note for any emergency or exigency and the ad hoc appointments were made in a routine manner.

Interestingly the document filed in the court puts all the speakers of Uttarakhand in the past under a cloud by stating that all 396 ad hoc appointments made from 2001 to 2021 have been done in an arbitrary, irregular and illegal manner with a smell of nepotism, favouritism and corruption. The application reveals that after issuing appointment orders to ad hoc employees the then speaker Prem Chand Agarwal had forwarded the file for ex post facto approval of the cabinet to the chief minister who used his special power of making deviations to approve these appointments overruling all the objections. 

It is worth mentioning here that on September 23, the speaker Ritu Khanduri acting on the recommendation of a committee cancelled the appointment of 228 ad hoc employees recruited in the years 2016, 2020 and 2021.  On October 15 the single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari ordered a stay on the removal of these employees. This stay was vacated by the double bench of HC on Thursday.

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