HC seeks response from Centre on appointment of CMDs

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued notices to the Centre and Department of Telecommunication for filing their response on the allegations that the procedure followed by the Ministry for the appointment of top posts in telecom PSUs was arbitrary and malafide.

The court also issued notices to Kuldeep Singh and R K Upadhyay who have been recommended for the post of CMD in MTNL and BSNL respectively. The court passed the order on a joint petition filed by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog and Executive Association of Sanchar Nigam, pleading that procedure for appointment of heads of BSNL and MTNL was arbitrary and it should be quashed.

The NGO, in its petition, alleged that the Department of Telecom (DoT) has "arbitrarily" changed the selection criteria formulated by a Sam Pitroda-led committee set up by the Prime Minister for appointment of eligible persons to top posts in the public sector.

Telecom Watchdog also alleged that Raja was trying to put TCIL Chairman and Managing Director R K Upadhyay at the helm of BSNL as CMD by changing the selection process and bypassing the selection criteria formulated by the Pitroda Committee.

"The petitioners brought this arbitrary change to the notice of the government on October 1, 2010, clearly pointing out the involvement of Telecom Minister A Raja and his trusted man A K Chandolia behind this move and their ulterior motive to select one R K Upadhyay (CMD, TCIL) for the post of CMD- BSNL," advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioners said.

The NGO further contended that after the government stopped the interview process for the two posts through the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), it changed its mind at the last moment and formed a six-member search panel.

It alleged that the terms of reference of the search panel were also altered later and the "DoT arbitrarily changed the eligibility norms in a secret manner and sent individual letters on September 28, 2010, to a few candidates (about 12-15) inviting them for an interview on October 3, 2010 (Sunday), on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games.

"The whole process of short listing was fabricated by the bureaucracy in such a manner that just a handful of officers, bereft of any outstanding track record, were called for interview," the NGO submitted.

Comments (+)