Chandigarh, Aug 1 IANS | 4 months ago

Despite drawing flak from all quarters over controversial appointments to statutory bodies, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Friday went ahead and administered oath of office to two more commissioners here.

Former chief secretary S.C. Choudhary, who retired Thursday, was appointed chief commissioner of the Right to Service (RTS) Commission, while Lt. Gen. (retired) Virender Singh Tonk was appointed commissioner on the RTS Commission.

Hooda defended his government's decision to appoint new commissioners.

"The commission has not been constituted in a hurry and all members were appointed in keeping with the constitution. The governor has authorized me to administer the oath to its members," he claimed.

Hooda hurriedly administered oath of office to two commissioners on the State Information Commission and three commissioners on the RTS Commission at his residence Sunday, just a couple of hours after new governor Kaptan Singh Solanki took charge.

He went ahead with the appointments despite the new governor assuming office and also the appointments being red-flagged by a senior officer.

In the past, the oath for constitutional posts, especially to the State Information Commission, was administered by the governor.

The Hooda government has also been left embarrassed by the objections raised against the appointments by senior bureaucrat Pradeep Kasni, who raised concerns that some of the appointees were holding offices of profit under the Haryana government and also some were not qualified enough for the posts.

Kasni also raised questions about the procedure followed in making the appointments.

However, the then chief secretary Choudhary Monday said that all the appointments of the commissioners made by the state government were legal and no irregularity has been committed in the issue. He termed Kasni's objections as "misleading, baseless and far from facts".

Former bureaucrat and Hooda confidant Shiv Raman Gaur and Rekha, wife of Hooda's political advisor Varinder, were administered oath of office by Hooda at his official residence here.

On the RTS panel, Hooda administered oath to senior bureaucrat Sarban Singh, who took premature retirement, Amar Singh, husband of a high court judge, and Sunil Katyal, a law officer with the state government.

While one screening committee headed by then chief secretary Chaudhary recommended the name of Sarban Singh and others to be appointed as commissioners, another committee, headed by Sarban Singh, cleared the name of Chaudhary for the post-retirement post.

Breaking from past tradition of information commissioners being administered oath by the state governor, Hooda got the permission from outgoing governor Jagannath Pahadia to administer oath to the new commissioners himself.

Pahadia, whose five-year term as governor ended Saturday, gave the permission just before his successor arrived.

On his last day in office Saturday, Pahadia also cleared the appointment of three vice chancellors for a three-year term each.

(Posted on 01-08-2014)

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