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“Can the court issue orders to remove party officials from PSU/Commission posts?” asks Delhi HC

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The Delhi Supreme Court has postponed the hearing in a PIL petition to remove members of political parties holding government posts, asking the petitioner to ‘investigate’ the matter.

Anesha Mathur

New Delhi,UPDATED: 29 Oct 2022 07:06 IST

The bank also asked senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, who was in court for another case, to make his suggestions (Photo: File)

By Aneesha MathurDelhi High Court on Friday asked petitioners to “do some homework” and check if there are any rules or legal precedents that “prohibit a person who is an office holder in a political party from being appointed to the position of a” public servant”.

In a PIL before the Supreme Court specifically challenging the appointment of BJP spokesman Sambit Patra as ITDC chairman, BJP parliamentary board member Iqbal Singh Lalpura as chairman of the National Minorities Commission, AAP spokesman Jasmine Shah as chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission, and Rajasthan Congress committee member Dr. Chandrabhan, as Vice-Chairman of the Government’s Program Implementation Committee, has alleged that the political leaders are “abusing the position” in these PSU/political activity committees.

Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghosh, who appeared before petitioner Sonali Tiwary, also argued that the case violated the “principle of political neutrality”.

“Another nuance is that someone is an official spokesperson. When you see the NCPCR or Women’s Committee, you are expected to be a neutral party and work for all people. But a party spokesperson is put in charge of a committee? focus on politics,” said Ghose.

However, the court of Chief Justice SC Sharma and Subramonium Prasad noted that political persons were appointed to committees across the country.

“Even in UP, people who are not housed as ministers are charged with committees,” the court said.

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The bank also asked senior attorney Salman Khurshid, who was in court for another case, to make his suggestions.

“Is there any judgment/rule that prohibits or prohibits persons who are members of a political party from holding such positions?

Please help us dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” said the bank, who also noted that Civil Services rules prohibit bureaucrats from joining political parties.

“The CCS rules regulate neutrality. But those are for civil servants,” the bank noted.

Attorney Ghose also argued that the positions in Commissions and in PSUs were intended for “politically neutral” individuals.

“Please read your prayer. You want us to delete them. Can we give such orders?’ the bank asked.

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The case will now be heard on January 17.

The petition filed by Delhi-based lawyer Sonali Tiwary has called for orders to “remove from office those individuals who have acted/continue to act in willful ignorance of the principle of neutrality and occupy an official position in a political party while holding a public servant.”

In addition, the plea also called for orders to the government to “establish a committee to draw up guidelines for the appointment of persons holding official positions in political parties as civil servants”.

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