Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the authorities to file a report relating to the steps taken to appoint an independent Director of Social Audit in the Social Audit Society of Tamil Nadu.
A division bench comprising Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad ordered notice to the Rural Department and Panchayatraj department and five others on a PIL filed by Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices.
The bench posted to March 1, further hearing of the PIL, which sought a direction to the Rural Department and Panchayatraj department and the Social Audit Society of Tamil Nadu to appoint an independent Director of Social Audit in the Society and eliminate all personnel including two joint directors and one assistant directors of the department.
Petitioner’s counsel P.V.S. Giridhar submitted that on a quo warranto petition filed by the petitioner, questioning under what authority S. Annamalai Premkumar was holding the post of Director of Social Audit, this court had stayed his appointment. Subsequently, taking note of the submission of the government that Annamalai Premkumar had been transferred and steps were being taken to make regular appointment of an independent candidate, this court closed the petition.
However, no such steps were being taken. Instead, another official of the department has been given charge of the duties of the post, i.e., A Thiagarajan, Joint Director, who is also a Joint Director of the Department of Rural Department, thereby perpetuating the illegality in violation of the Act and the statutory guidelines issued by the Central government, he added.
He said the said Joint Director has been undertaking all the audit related activities including release of funds for the purpose. There are two Joint Directors and one Assistant Directors of the department on deputation to the Social Audit Society of Tamil Nadu, which was destructive of its independence and illegal.
If an independent Director was not appointed forthwith, the entire scheme of social audit under the (MGNREGA) Act would be frustrated and there would be no independent check on irregularities and corrupt practices which appear to be rampant, Giridhar added....