Opinion Op Ed 05 Feb 2017 Dilli Ka Babu: Delay ...
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Dilli Ka Babu: Delay in appointments

Published Feb 5, 2017, 12:57 am IST
Updated Feb 5, 2017, 7:08 am IST
Reserve Bank of India
 Reserve Bank of India

Why do several posts at the top levels in government and public sector undertakings remain vacant for months sometimes? Even the Reserve Bank of India is yet to get its full strength of deputy governors. There was considerable delay on part of the government before appointment of a director for the Central Bureau of Investigation. It’s a question that bothers babu-watchers and many in the public. Since many such vacancies arise due to superannuation, the date of tenure is not exactly a secret. Some posit that babus wait for a political nod to initiate the process. At present, the Oriental Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company and Agricultural Insurance Corporation are headless, and have been so for a long time.

The selection process was cancelled twice and on the third occasion interviews were conducted. The Cabinet had decided to list the first-two named general insurer after New India Assurance and GIC in the next fiscal. Finance minister Arun Jaitley has reportedly asked these companies to tighten up the belts and improve in profitability. But to whom is he addressing in these companies, which are headless or run on ad hoc basis? Surely it can’t be the efficiency and effectiveness sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the civil services cadre?

Supreme Court makes a point

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to issue a fresh notification on the appointment of Karnal Singh as director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for two years in consonance with provision of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, saying, “A rule cannot override a statute.” Mr Singh, who was holding the additional charge of the director’s post after being granted extension, was appointed a full-time director of ED on October 27, 2016 till August 31, 2017, the date of his superannuation. However, this is not in consonance with the CVC Act, which fixes tenure of ED director at not less than two years.

So the current appointment letter does not comply with the act, the court has noted. It is now hoped that once the new notification is issued the matter will finally rest. It had come on a PIL filed last year by Mumbai-based former Indian Revenue Service officer Uday Babu Khalwadekar, seeking quashing of ad-hoc appointment and subsequent extensions granted by Centre to Mr Singh as head of the agency in alleged violation of the law.

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