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Ex-Chief Secy moves HC
03-08-2011, 10:15 AM
Post: #1
Ex-Chief Secy moves HC

Ex-Chief Secy moves HC
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, March 7
Former Chief Secretary-cum-first Chief Information Commissioner Rajan Kashyap has alleged that the State of Punjab and its functionaries have adopted a lackadaisical and discriminatory attitude by denying him pension and retirement benefits, payable to the present incumbent.

In a significant development that brings out the complete failure of the state to apparently give its former officer his due, Kashyap has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging bias and inaction while seeking the release of pension and other retirement benefits.

Kashyap, who demitted the office from the Chief Information Commissioner’s position on July 29, 2008, has also asked for interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum. This is perhaps the first time in the recallable past that an officer of the Chief Secretary’s rank has been compelled to move the High Court.

As a petition came up for hearing this morning, Justice Permod Kohli issued a notice of motion to the State of Punjab through its Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary in the Department of Information Technology and Administrative Reforms.

Referring to a notification issued by the respondents, his counsel, Kanwalvir Singh Kang, says: “It is apparent that the petitioner, having demitted the office of the State Chief Information Commissioner on July 29, 2008, is entitled to the similar pension and retirement benefits as are provided to Election Commissioner of India/Chief Election Commissioner…”

“As a natural corollary, the petitioner is entitled to pension and retirement benefits available to the Election Commissioner of India and is resultantly entitled to pension and retirement benefits available to a Judge of the Supreme Court”.

Bringing out the discrimination, Kang adds: “The respondents vide appointment letter dated August 23, 2010, appointed RI Singh as the Chief Information Commissioner on similar terms and conditions as that of the petitioner. The pension and other retirement benefits of RI Singh are in consonance with the benefits available to the Election Commissioner of India and accordingly to the Judge of the Supreme Court… The petitioner is also entitled to the similar benefits as RI Singh.”

Kang says the “benefits have not been released to him despite numerous letters and reminders to the respondents and without there being any reason for the same having been conveyed to the petitioner”.

He adds that the petitioner served as a distinguished member of the IAS from 1965 to 2003 and was appointed as the first Chief Information Commissioner of the newly set up State Information Commission.

The petition goes on to say: “The non-release of the pension and retirement benefits to the petitioner is a complete infringement of the statutory rights of the petitioner. Apart from this, the action of the respondents is in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution, whereby the petitioner has not been equated with his fellow employees, for whom the benefits have been structured without there being any undue delay and hassle.”

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