Row over reappointment of principal secy

The post of the principal secretary created in the year 2005 temporarily, has kicked up a storm in the corridors of power, unsettling none other than the Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah himself. The post exists no where in the country including the Parliament. Robinson D’Souza first held the post till his retirement in 2007.

H M Bharatesh, a retired district and sessions judge, was appointed to the post on July 16, 2009, on contract basis. He was to hold the post for a period of three years or till he attained 62 years of age. He turned 62 this year and his tenure ended in July.

Deviations
The appointment rules provide that only serving judicial officers not below the rank of a district judge or those who have served as secretary in the Law and Parliamentary Affairs department are eligible for the post. Bharatesh had only served as an additional secretary to the department of Law and ParliamentaryAffairs.

Besides, the appointment needs to be approved by the special board consisting of the presiding officers of both the Houses, the Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister and the chief minister. However, the Board had not consented the appointment of Bharatesh.

As the tenure of Bharatesh came to close, K G Bopaiah and D H Shankaramurthy, the presiding officers of the Assembly and the Council respectively, decided to abolish the post as it went against the rules.

Sources said Bharatesh brought pressure on the presiding officers for his reappointment using the Lingayat lobby. The then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa reappointed him. Bopaiah, though unhappy, agreed to reappoint him only for a period of one year from July 2011. But, Yeddyurappa reportedly issued another order extending his term by two years. On July 30, the Council secretariat passed an order reappointing him to the post.

Since it is a common cadre post, presiding officers of both Houses need to arrive at a consensus on the appointment, failing which, the order cannot be executed.

Relieved from post
Upset with the turn of events, Assembly Speaker relieved Bharatesh from the post with effect from August 1. The Assembly secretariat withdrew all the staff and facilities provided to him, including his consolidated salary of Rs 50,000 a month.

He was not paid salary from July onwards, said the official sources. But, Bharatesh continues in the office and enjoys the facilities given by the Council, including four-five staff, a Skoda Octavia (reserved only for VVIPs), a laptop, a personal computer and a telephone connection for his residence.

When contacted, Bopaiah said: “I didn’t feel the need for the continuation of his (Bharatesh) services, so I relieved him. The Chairman, who wanted a principal secretary, continued him. But, continuing him would only mean more losses to the exchequer.”

Shankarmurthy told Deccan Herald that the Speaker had given consent by signing the resolution passed by him to reappoint Bharatesh for one-year period. He said: “The Speaker has not told me anything about his reservations on the reappointment of Bharatesh.”

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