Maharashtra to replace Home Secretary after HC rap
Mumbai: A week after the Bombay High Court castigated Home Secretary Vineet Agarwal for his "uncivil" manner while deciding on externment orders, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday informed it will designate new secretary to replace the bureaucrat as appellate authority.
The decision to replace Agarwal was taken after the senior bureaucrat received a lot of flak for passing "stereotypical and mechanical orders without application of mind".
A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and GS Patel while quashing and setting aside several externment orders upheld by the appellate authority came down heavily on Agarwal.
Following this, Agarwal yesterday wrote a letter to the state government that he no longer wished to continue as the appellate authority hearing cases of externment and that he will only hear interim applications for stay.
This had irked the high court which observed it is not up to him (Agarwal) to decide what he will do.
Advocate General Darius Khambata today informed the high court that the chief secretary of the state home department has decided to designate another secretary as appellate authority.
"In the meantime, the additional chief secretary, home department, would hear the interim pleas seeking stay on externment orders," Khambata said.
Accepting this, the court said, "We hope now that the rule of law is followed. We impress upon the new appellate authority to function in accordance with law."
Last week, the court had rapped Agarwal for conducting himself in an "uncivil" manner and attempting to "overreach" it while hearing an appeal against externment. The court had said that in "matter after matter" it had set aside the externment orders passed by the appellate authority.
The court was hearing a group of petitions challenging externment orders confirmed by Agarwal.
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