Cong MLA raises privilege issue for SEC appointment ad

Cong MLA raises privilege issue for SEC appointment ad

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy issued an order declaring "null and void" the December 20 communication of Bedi annulling the appointment of retired IAS officer T M Balakrishnan as the SEC in July. (PTI Photo)

A ruling Congress MLA on Thursday sought to raise a privilege issue against officials for issuing an advertisement, calling for applications to the post of State Election Commissioner, though the incumbent was appointed, based on an assembly resolution in July last year.

T Jayamoorthy in his petition submitted to the Speaker V P Sivakolundhu sought to raise an issue of privilege against the Chief Secretary, Secretary to the Local Administration Department, it's under Secretary and Director for their attempt to appoint the SEC in violation of the decision of the Assembly and also the cabinet. The advertisement calling for applications to the SEC post was released in an English daily and some vernacular newspapers here, days after Chief Minister V Narayanasamy issued an order declaring "null and void" the December 20 communication of Bedi annulling the appointment of retired IAS officer T M Balakrishnan as the SEC in July.

Local Administration Minister A Namassivayam had said he was not consulted and it was "really perplexing" that his department had come out with the advertisement. Bedi had last month quashed the SEC's appointment based on a Union Home Ministry circular, stating it can be made only through a Selection Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. Narayanasamy, in his January 3 order, said the appointment of SEC was an executive action and the removal of the official can only be through a legislative action as stated in Articles 243 K, 243 L and 243-ZB of the Constitution and also under provisions of the Puducherry Municipalities, Commune and Village Panchayats Act 1973. Namasivayam maintained Balakrishnan was 'unanimously' selected by the assembly and appointed through a special resolution in July last year to the post of SEC and he had assumed office.

Jayamoorthy, also chairman of the Puducherry Planning Authority, pointed out that the special session of the Assembly had adopted a unanimous resolution on July 22 last year, authorising the cabinet to take steps to fill the post of SEC. The cabinet had met the same day and decided on appointing Balakrishnan as the SEC. The appointment was as per rules relating to the posting of SEC and also the cabinet decision, Jayamoorthy said, adding that Balakrishnan assumed charge the next day and started the process of posting election officers to conduct civic polls. Meanwhile, the LAD had released the advertisement in the English daily and two vernacular newspapers, he said.

Jayamoorthy alleged that the Chief Secretary, Secretary to LAD and two officials had 'arbitrarily' issued the ad on January 7 `without the knowledge of the Speaker, the approval of the Chief Minister and the Minister concerned The officials' act of releasing the advertisement was a clear violation of the privilege of the House, he said. Jayamoorthy requested the Speaker to initiate appropriate action against the officials for breach of privilege of the House, protect members' rights and decorum of the House.

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