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Court censures Puducherry Special Secretary

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madras High Court has come down heavily on the Special Secretary, Art and Culture Department, Puducherry, for having obliged the department's Minister, who wanted to remove an individual from the post of Director (in-charge), Puducherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture, and appoint another person, in contravention of the service bylaws of the institute, in November 2010.

Allowing a writ petition filed by M. Soudarssane, Justice K. Chandru refused to accept the explanation that a new Director was appointed only to give an impetus to the activities of the institute.

If that was so, then the authorities concerned ought to have appointed a full-time Director after finalising regular recruitment rules, “without sleeping over the matter for the last four years.”

The Judge said: “But for the Minister initiating the proposal (it is obvious that it must be at the instance of the second respondent, the person who replaced the existing Director), the first respondent (Secretary) merely fell in line with his dictum… Such an anxiety on the part of the first respondent to obey the command of a Minister was hardly expected of a government servant.

“He is in a position to advice the Minister properly in such matters rather than chanting the slogan of ‘Yes Minister.'

If the draft recruitment rules are pending approval for over four years, then the respondents could have done something to finalise them rather than taking an ad hoc decision on an ad hoc appointment.

When the petitioner has been holding the post all along, there is no necessity to remove him.”

Quashing an order passed by the Special Secretary on November 19, Mr. Justice Chandru said: “The impugned order is a thorough misconception and wrong understanding of the relevant rule provisions. Even for an ad hoc decision, there must be an emergent situation as per the delegation of powers given under the rules. But, the proceedings do not show any such emergent situation for the Minister to exercise his extraordinary power.”

According to the petitioner, M. Soudarssane, he was appointed as Director (in-charge) of the Institute in 2006 as he was the seniormost Assistant Professor.

He was suddenly reverted to his original post following the Minister's decision last year and hence the writ petition.

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