The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday set aside the appointment of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s appointment of his principal secretary, PTI reported. The court said retired Indian Administrative Service officer Suresh Kumar was holding a public office without any authority of law.
Kumar, a 1983 batch IAS officer, was appointed to the post after the Congress formed the government in Punjab in 2017. Ramandeep Singh, a resident of Mohali in Punjab, had moved the High Court alleging that Kumar’s appointment was against the constitutional scheme and accepted norms, the Hindustan Times reported.
The court said Kumar has been taking important decisions for departments like home, vigilance, personnel and finance, among others. “If the veil is lifted and record pertaining to appointment of respondent number 5 [Kumar] examined, it transpires that true intent of the appointment, as reinforced by the standing order, is to confer powers on him to take important decisions relating to functioning of the state, its sovereign powers as well,” Justice Rajan Gupta said, according to The Indian Express.
The bench said it seemed that Kumar was allowed to take all decisions in the absence of the chief minister. He said the retired officer is not expected to have the same vision for the development of the state as the chief minister who has been elected by the mandate.
“Having been entrusted with important sovereign functions and having ceased to be a public servant, it is inexplicable how such an appointee can be held accountable for the decisions taken by him,” the order said, according to PTI.
After the court’s order, the chief minister asked the state’s Advocate General Atul Nanda to suggest further legal remedies, IANS reported.