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Akhilesh Verma and Ors. V. Union of India and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (10 Apr 2017)

Appointment to post of Secretary by direct recruitment without exhausting channel of transfer on deputation is illegal



Petitioners in both writ petitions, who claim to be artists, sought a writ of quo warranto to set aside appointment of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma as Secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi alleging that, his appointment was in violation of provisions of Lalit Kala Akademi (Secretary, Lalit Kala Akademi) Recruitment Rules, 1999. Petitioners also challenged order passed by Government of India, Ministry of Culture whereby order of suspension of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma was revoked and he was reinstated into service.

In exercise of the powers conferred by Clause 11.1 of Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of Lalit Kala Akademi, "Recruitment Rules, 1999" have been made to regulate method of recruitment to post of Secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi. Rule 4 of said Rules provides that, method of recruitment, age limit, qualifications and other matters relating to the said post shall be as specified in columns (5) to (12) of the Schedule and bye-law (9) of Lalit Kala Akademi (Services) Byelaws. Schedule to Recruitment Rules shows that, post of Secretary is a selection post and that, method of recruitment shall be by transfer on deputation, failing which by direct recruitment. In case of transfer on deputation, it is prescribed that, same shall be by deputation of persons in group 'A' service or equivalent in Central or State Government organizations including Museums, Galleries, etc. or university system or cultural organizations possessing essential qualifications and experience prescribed for direct recruitment. It was also made clear that period of deputation will ordinarily not exceed three years and in any case shall not exceed five years.

Appointment of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma on basis of decision of Selection Committee is not in conformity with provisions of Recruitment Rules, 1999. In fact, by order, it was held by Akademi itself that, appointment of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma was void ab initio. However, said order was set aside by Central Government and he was reinstated into service. Allegations of misconduct and misappropriation of funds against Dr. Sudhakar Sharma were also found to be established after due inquiry by Akademi and he was dismissed from service by Akademi. Said order was also set aside by the Union of India.

However, fact remains that inquiry proceedings initiated against Dr. Sudhakar Sharma have been revived by Akademi by and same has also been reiterated by Central Government. Despite the same, it is un-understandable as to why said inquiry which was initiated long back could not be concluded till date. No justifiable explanation could be shown by the Government of India for delay except stating that proposal is pending for referring inquiry proceedings to Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

Allegation in writ petitions that, continuation of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma is not in interest of management of Akademi therefore, cannot be simply brushed. Union of India, Ministry of Culture as well as Lalit Kala Akademi shall file detailed counter affidavits explaining as to how the appointment of Dr. Sudhakar Sharma can be justified and further explaining the delay in concluding disciplinary proceedings initiated against Dr. Sudhakar Sharma. Union of India, Ministry of Culture and Lalit Kala Akademi shall not allow Dr. Sudhakar Sharma to interfere with administration of Lalit Kala Akademi in any manner whatsoever pending the inquiry against him.


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