Himachal High Court closes PIL on officers of ‘doubtful integrity’

It is not desirable for the High Court to enter into the broad arena of postings and promotions of officials of the state government on a continuous basis and keep monitoring them since it might be construed as interference in the running of the government.

This was held by the HP High Court while closing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding officers of doubtful integrity, who were deputed on sensitive posts in the government.

It further observed that "it may affect the reputation and career of officials who are not party to the PIL and who may not have an opportunity to refute the allegations against them".

The court had passed numerous orders on this PIL, including directing the state to furnish a chart in a tabulated form disclosing names of officers subjected to disciplinary proceedings, indicating the date of first hearing, current status and stage of departmental proceedings, as also action thereupon, and also the statement as to whether such officers are holding any sensitive post or not.

During the course of hearing, it was brought to the notice of the court that certain guidelines were issued on November 2, 2012, by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Government of India, with regard to Vigilance clearance for promotion and apart from this certain instruction issued on December 17, 2018, by the then Chief Secretary of Himachal Government to all administrative secretaries.

Closing the PIL, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua further observed that "having regard to the instructions referred above, which have been placed on record, we hope trust will be followed in such matters, reserving power of the court to give appropriate directions where specific instances of such postings and promotions are brought to the notice of the court."

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