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Controversy erupts over Commissioners` oath in Haryana

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 01:41

Chandigarh: A row has broken out over Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda administering the oath of office to new information commissioners, appointed allegedly violating rules, but the state government claimed the appointments were "legal".
The Opposition raked up the issue, charging the appointments were made flouting the rules and procedures, as Hooda had administered the oath barely an hour after the new Governor, Kaptan Singh Solanki took charge.

In the past, the Information Commissioners were administered the oath by the Governor.

Opposition parties including INLD and BJP attacked the Hooda government for showing "haste" in making the appointments and pointed out that even Haryana`s Secretary, Administrative Reforms, Pradeep Kasni, has red-flagged the appointments on the grounds that rules had allegedly not been followed.

"The Hooda government, which has been going out of its way to re-employ its favourites, showed tremendous haste yesterday. The Chief Minister invited to his home those who had to take oath and administered the oath on a holiday. He did not even wait for the new Governor`s nod," BJP`s legislature party leader and Ambala MLA, Anil Vij charged.

However, Chief Secretary S C Choudhary maintained that there was no illegality in making the appointments and in administering the oath to them.

He made it clear that all officers who have been administered oath of office were either retirees or they have taken voluntary retirement prior to joining their new assignment.

"Resignation of all members have been accepted before their joining new assignment," Choudhary said.

In the past, the Information Commissioners were administered the oath by the Governor.

The chief minister yesterday, sworn in two members as Commissioners of the State Information Commission and three others as the Right to Service Commission.

Main opposition INLD, too, slammed the government over making the appointments.

"We are meeting the new Governor and will apprise him that the Congress government, whose term is nearing its end, is in a tearing hurry to appoint its favourites at key constitutional posts by not following laid down rules thus violating constitutional and democratic norms," INLD`s state unit chief, Ashok Arora said.

He said the "haste" in making the appointments to these statutory posts was evident from the fact that the proposal for making the appointments was sent to the then Governor, Jagannath Pahadia, on July 23 seeking an authorisation from him so that the Chief Minister could administer the oath to the new members.

The names of the new appointees were cleared by Pahadia on July 25, on the last day of his tenure.

First Published: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 01:41
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