Jammu: The J&K High Thursday directed government to file response to a petition challenging the cabinet recommendation of the ruling alliance of PDP-BJP to appoint Chairman and members of the J&K Public Service Commission.
Hearing a petition, a bench of Justice Janak Raj Kotwal directed Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary GAD, Commissioner Law and Parliamentary affairs, and Principal Secretary to Governor to file response by April 22.
In their plea, the petitioners seek directions for restraining the respondents from acting upon the cabinet decision of March 15 this year, whereby fresh recommendation for appointment to the post of Chairman/Members of J&K PSC has been made.
The PSC has been defunct after the retirement of last and lone member KB Jandial in November last year.
The state government had appointed Khurshid Ganaie, a senior IAS official, as chairman of the PSC for five years after SL Bhat retired in September last year and six new members.
The other members of the Commission are IAS office Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad, former IFS officer Mukherjeet Sharma, former Director General, Economics and Statistics B R Lachotra, former Director General, Accounts and Treasuries Wali Mohammad Bhat, former Professor Ophthalmology Tejit Singh and former Director Animal Husbandry Farooq Ahmad Kaloo. Later, the state governor returned the file to government.
However, on March 15, the state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed recommended names of Abdul Latief Deva, the then acting vice chairman of the Lakes and Water Works Development, for the post of chairman of PSC. Other names recommended for the panel are Rishi Dogra, former registrar of Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University; Mushtaq Wani, former college principal; Indu Kilm, a scholar and academician; retired IAS official GR Bhagat, and senior KAS official Munshi Muzaffar Hussain.
While emphasizing that the cabinet recommendations cannot be brushed aside, the petitioners seek response as to whether the Governor can override the decision of the Council of Ministers particularly when Section 35(2) of the Constitution expressly states that all functions of the Governor except those under Sections 36, 38 and 92 shall be exercised by him only on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
They further pleaded that the Act of the Governor in upsetting the Cabinet Decision dated 10-10-2014 as such is unconstitutional and requires to be declared as ultra-vires to the Constitution of J&K State.