State's babus caught in a fix

Govt, Oppn cross swords over privilege to call meetings

On the one hand, Opposition leaders are threatening to move privilege motion against the officials if they do not attend meetings called by the former, the government on the other hand, has said that it will initiate action against officers who take part in such meetings.

Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao recently issued a circular to all departmental heads and deputy commissioners, stating that Opposition leaders in the Legislature do not have powers to summon officials for meetings.

But Opposition leader in the Council V S Ugrappa is not ready to accept this. He had not only claimed that the circular was unconstitutional, but also convened a meeting of officials in Bijapur district on Sunday, to review the progress of various development programmes. Ugrappa had threatened to move a privilege motion in the Legislature against those who remained absent from the meeting.

On the other hand, Minister for IT and BT Katta Subramanya Naidu on Monday said the government will initiate disciplinary action against all officials who have attended meetings called by the Opposition leader. “The CS has issued a circular, which clearly says that officials are not supposed to attend such meetings. So, the government will initiate action against those who have violated the rulebook,” he stated.

Sources said the government may issue showcause notices to officials in Bijapur for attending the meeting called by Ugrappa, but it is unlikely that any disciplinary action will be taken against them. The Revenue department had not received any direction from the to issue showcause notices till late in the evening.

Meanwhile, Senior leader and former law minister D B Chandre Gowda joined the debate on the administrative powers of the Opposition leaders. “They (Opposition leaders) do not enjoy power from any source to hold meetings with officials, unlike the chief minister and other ministers,” he stated.

Addressing reporters, he said the Opposition leaders are neither answerable to the House, nor do they take the oath of secrecy. Similarly, officials of all departments are answerable only to the House through the ministers concerned . “Hence, it is not necessary on the part of the officials to attend meetings convened by the Opposition leaders,” he argued.

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