Mandi: Information availed under the Right to Information Act has revealed how set ruled and regulations can be overlooked by those in power to benefit their supporters. The matter pertains to appointment of an additional district attorney (ADA), a class I officer, on compassionate grounds, whereas the rules clearly state that only class III and class IV appointments can be made on such grounds.
The story dates back to February 2007 when district attorney (vigilance department) Shimla, Ravinder Dhaulta, died on 09.02.2007 and then his son Vikas Dhaulta was finally given appointment as an additional district attorney vide a cabinet decision dated 13.07.2007. The family is said to be in good books of the then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is believed to have taken special pains to make the out-of-the-way appointment.
Information sought by RTI Bureau Mandi member advocate Ranjeet Singh Chauhan has revealed that the applicant submitted a letter to the government on 05.03.2007 stating that he had completed his LLB eight months back and after his father’s death he was the lone caretaker of his grandmother, mother and younger sister, and therefore be given government job on compassionate grounds. Unlike the normal delay of up to even a decade in deciding such cases, the personnel department, home department and the finance department officials cleared the file in no time and on September 13, 2007 it was cleared by the cabinet. Mandi RTI Bureau now intends to take up the matter in the high court.
Different standards for different people
In another such case, Rohani Sharma, daughter of late Amar Prakash Sharma, who was posted as district attorney in Kinnaur, too had applied for the same job (ADA) under compassionate grounds after her father’s death, but her application was immediately rejected stating that only class III and class IV jobs can be availed under such grounds.
In Himachal only class III and class IV jobs can be given on compassionate grounds, but in this case a class I job was given.
According to a 1990 policy, only that dependent can be given a job who does not have any other member of his family in government job. In this case, the applicant’s mother was employed as a senior assistant in the IPH department.
A minimum of two years experience as lawyer is required to be appointed as ADA, but in this case the applicant did not meet the condition.
The applicant showed his family income as Rs 3,52,000 per year, which was more than the qualifying income for such a job.
At the time of appointment election code of conduct was applicable in the state and the then government is believed to have taken up the issue with the Election Commission as well.
The applicant applied directly to the CM office and not the department concerned.