Saturday, December 9, 2023

Punjab and Haryana High Court summons Chief Secretary of Haryana to explain decision for rejecting proposal to promote 13 judicial officers

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has summoned the Haryana Chief Secretary for giving an explanation for rejecting the promotion of 13 Civil Service (Judicial Branch) officers, who were recommended by the High Court.

The Court particularly referred to the contemptuous language used in the rejection letter.

As per information, a letter bearing the signature of the government’s Joint Secretary, Rashmi Grover, stated that the government has decided not to accept the High Court’s arbitrary suggestions pertaining to the promotion of 13 judicial officers to the roles of Additional and District Sessions judges.

The controversial letter reads that the the Constitution has conferred upon High Court a sacred and noble duty to give best advice or the opinion to the Governor. 

It further said that the High Court cannot act arbitrarily in giving its opinion to the Governor or else it will be a betrayal of trust. If the advice is not supportable by any material on record and is arbitrary in character, it may not have any binding value/effect.

Taking a serious view of these statements, Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan of the High Court asked the Joint Secretary to appear in Court the same afternoon and explain the letter. 

The Court in its letter to the Joint Secretary mentioned that the language used in the said letter, in their considered opinion, was per se contemptuous.

It added that the Joint Secretary to the Government of Haryana, who signed the letter, should be present in the Court at 2 pm for giving justification as to the manner in which the letter was addressed to this Court.

The Joint Secretary told the Court that the letter in question was endorsed by the Chief Minister. 

After the letter by the Joint Secretary was received, the Court summoned the Chief Secretary as well. The Chief Secretary to the Haryana government is expected to appear in Court today at 2 pm.

The Court has also requested access to the original State file to ascertain which individuals were responsible for approving the issue of the disputed letter.

The matter will be taken up later today.

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