What SC had said on appointments to PSCs

What SC had said on appointments to PSCs

In the light of the debate regarding the action of the State government recommending the name of former chairman of the Legislative Council V R Sudharshan, an active politician, to head the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC), a verdict of Supreme Court has come to fore.

The apex court in February 2013 had quashed the appointment of a former MLA Harish Dhanda to the post of Chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission stating that the appointment did not meet constitutional, functional and institutional requirements.

The Punjab Government in July 2011 appointed Dhanda, a former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA as chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission.

The appointment was questioned by an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The High Court set aside the appointment stating that decision making process was not transparent, objective and no effort had been made to choose the best possible talent to discharge the constitutional functions as chairperson and members of public service commissions.

Subsequently, the Punjab Government challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court. The apex court in February 2013 upheld the High Court order. At the same time it had a word of caution to High Courts. “There is a likelihood of comparable challenges being made by trigger-happy litigants to appointments made to constitutional positions where no eligibility criterion or procedure has been laid down. The High Courts will do well to be extremely circumspect in even entertaining such petitions.

It is necessary to keep in mind that sufficient elbow room must be given to the executive to make constitutional appointments as long as the constitutional, functional and institutional requirements are met and the appointments are in conformity with the indicators given by this court from time to time,” the court said.

It also directed the State of Punjab to frame a memorandum of procedure and administrative guidelines for the selection and appointment of the chairperson and members of the Punjab Public Service Commission, so that the possibility of arbitrary appointments is eliminated. Sudharshan is a three-time MLC and has been an active member of the Janata Dal and later the Congress. The BJP has opposed the government’s recommendation stating that the KPSC should be free from political appointments.

The party is even considering petitioning the Governor. The file pertaining to the appointment is with Governor Vajubhai Vala.  Vala is on a visit to his home state of Gujarat and will return on January 2.

Siddaramaiah hits out at BJP

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Saturday, asked the BJP to introspect over the backgrounds of people it had nominated to the KPSC when it was in power, reports DHNS from Bhatkal (Uttara Kannada district).

In a chat with reporters here, he hit back at the BJP, saying that those recommended for appointments to the KPSC by his government had no criminal records and that the law provides for appointing non-officials to the KPSC.

He said that those recommended for appointments had no charges against them as reported in the newspapers.

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