Himachal seeks recall of order to shift ‘tainted’ officials

Shimla, Dec 2: The Himachal Pradesh government Monday pleaded with the state high court to recall or modify its orders to transfer 43 officers of doubtful integrity from sensitive posts.

An affidavit filed by Officiating Chief Secretary P. Mitra in the Himachal Pradesh High Court said: “It’s always the effort of the government to avoid posting such officers in sensitive posts.”

“But since non-sensitive posts are not there in all cadres, hence, it may become unavoidable to post some officers in posts which cannot strictly be termed as non-sensitive.”

The high court, hearing a plea of former drug controller Sher Singh Thakur, who appealed for the departmental proceedings against him to be set aside after he was convicted June 2011 for corruption, sought a list of government functionaries with doubtful integrity.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Kuldip Singh directed the registry to list the matter for hearing Dec 6.

In the application moved before the court, the officiating chief secretary submitted that the previous court orders dated Nov 18 mentioned the statement of the additional advocate general that the process was going on for shifting 43 officers of doubtful integrity, posted in sensitive posts, to non-sensitive posts.

“The assurance was made by the additional advocate general inadvertently and no such assurance was made in the affidavit filed by him Nov 16, and only the detail of competent authorities, who were consulted while posting such officers in sensitive posts, was given in the said affidavit,” he said.

Earlier, a division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh Nov 14 directed the chief secretary to file an affidavit listing the names of “tainted” officials and their postings.

Expressing displeasure about the inaction of the secretaries of the departments concerned in not furnishing information to the chief secretary on whether the posting of tainted officers to sensitive posts was with the concurrence and approval of the highest authority, the bench directed the secretaries to furnish the information within a day.

The high court, while hearing the plea of the former drug controller, has widened the scope of the matter to address the basic issue of tainted officers in sensitive posts.