The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would hear the Centre on a plea that a non-governmental organisation filed challenging Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra’s appointment as an independent director on the Oil and Natural Gas Company board, PTI reported. The Delhi High Court had rejected the plea in 2017, calling it “unsubstantiated and without merit”.
The bench did not issue a formal notice to the Centre. It, instead, asked Energy Watchdog – the NGO which filed the petition – to serve a copy of the plea to the government.
“You serve a copy to the Union of India,” the top court told Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioners. “After hearing preliminary arguments, we can issue formal notice.” The bench then posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
The petitioners have challenged Patra’s appointment on three grounds, Bloomberg reported. First, they argued that he was not “independent” as he was a member of the ruling BJP. Second, the petitioners said that Patra did not fulfill the eligibility criteria for the appointment. Third, they said that the highly-paid post should not be offered to ineligible persons only because they are close to the government.