Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has asked the state government as to why it appointed 40-50 advisers to the government and paid lakhs of rupees as remuneration without having any concern over its adverse impact on the state’s finances.
A single-judge bench headed by Battu Devanand heard a petition on Friday, challenging the appointment of former chief secretary Nilam Sawhney as the state election commissioner.
The court observed that the advisers appointed to the chief minister and to the state government were being provided with several benefits and special facilities. Such benefits were not being provided even to the judges of the high court, it noted.
The court observed that the advisers appointed earlier never used to address the media except for KVP Ramachandra Rao during late CM YSR Reddy’s term. He spoke to the media after the death of YSR Reddy in a mishap, and it was only to boost the morale of the people, the court said, and asked why some advisers were now reaching out to the media to speak about politics.
The court examined the norms dealing with appointment of SEC. Advocate general Sriram argued that the CM’s letter to the governor was indicative of the litigation in the exercise of appointments and the pending SLPs in the Supreme Court, while suggesting three names was not inconsistent with the scheme of the Constitution.
He said the governor did not limit his consideration only to those names and applied an objective parameter among 11 officers to come to a conclusion. “This cannot be challenged.”
In all constitutional appointments and appointments to the neutral office, he said, any appointment was done based on suitability of the officer in the opinion of the governor, and added that neutrality and performance of an independent officer are to be determined after the appointment of that officer.
The court asked as to why only the names of IAS officers were nominated for the post of SEC and why the AG was not recommending the names of those from other sectors to the chief minister for appointment.
The AG responded by saying that though the CM contacted him before proposing the names to the governor, he suggested that former IAS officers were the right ones for the post as such a post was administrative in nature, within constitutional framework, and other states also followed suit.
As regards advisers, the AG submitted that it was the discretionary power of the CM to appoint suitable persons as advisers to advise him on various issues involving policy matters of the government. Such a practice was not contrary to any provisions of the Constitution and any legislation and it was being done based on past conventions. No adviser could be considered unnecessary or a burden on the state exchequer, the AG stressed.