Tainted Himachal officials shifted

Shimla, Jan 8 : The state government has informed the Himachal Pradesh High Court that all officers with "doubtful integrity" have been transferred from sensitive to non-sensitive posts.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahemad Mir and Justice Kuldip Singh Wednesday accepted the state's affidavit in this connection and disposed of a writ petition.

The state government informed the court that 33 officers were shifted to non-sensitive posts, while one was acquitted by the court and eight were exonerated from the charges in departmental proceedings and one retired.

Earlier, the high court had directed the transfer of 43 officers with doubtful integrity as early as possible from the sensitive posts.

The state government Dec 2, 2013, pleaded with the court to either recall or modify its order to transfer tainted officers.

An affidavit filed by the acting chief secretary said: "It's always the effort of the government to avoid posting such officers in sensitive posts."

"But since non-sensitive posts are not there in all cadres, hence, it may become unavoidable to post some officers in posts which cannot strictly be termed as non-sensitive."

Former drug controller Sher Singh Thakur had appealed to the court that departmental proceedings against him be set aside after he was convicted June 29, 2011 for corruption.

The high court, hearing a plea of Thakur, had sought in September 2010 a list of government functionaries with doubtful integrity.

Later, the high court, while hearing the plea, widened the scope of the matter to address the basic issue of tainted officers in sensitive posts.

During the hearing, the high court pulled up the government a number of times for its tardiness in granting sanction to prosecute corrupt officials.

A division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rajiv Sharma had directed Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu Aug 18, 2011, to depute an officer, not below the rank of under secretary, to take a call regarding sanction for prosecution of tainted officials.

The bench had adopted a tough stand after the union government informed the court that the delay in sanction was not on its part, but on that of the state government.

--IANS (Posted on 08-01-2014)

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