Monday, Apr 07, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Our Special Correspondent
Mr. Ray, who had been heading the department since April 2002, is yet to be given a new posting.
According to Government sources, a Supreme Court Bench consisting of the Chief Justice of India, A.N. Khare and S.M.H. Qadri, heard a special leave petition filed by Dr. Rai on Saturday morning.
Though the court did not pass any order, it expressed its displeasure over the superseding of the petitioner. The mere displeasure expressed by the apex court worked.
The Government counsel in the Supreme Court conveyed the matter to the Advocate-General, A.N. Jayaram, who, in turn, took up the matter with the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna. By evening, Dr. Rai replaced Mr. Ray as the head of the Aranya Bhavan.
Apparently, the Government did not want to go against the Court. Mr. Krishna has set a record of sorts by apologising twice to the Supreme Court when faced with contempt of court charges. The first was with regard to a statement he made about increasing the height of the Alamatti Dam across the Krishna when a petition from Andhra Pradesh was pending before the court. He again apologised on the Cauvery issue after first adopting an obdurate stand that Cauvery waters would not be released to Tamil Nadu despite the directive from the court.
Only three months ago, on the last week of December, the Government appointed B.S. Patil Chief Secretary, overlooking the seniority of M.B. Prakash and C. Gopal Reddy and giving the go by to the policy of respecting seniority it was following in most cases. Mr. Prakash sought premature retirement, deciding against the option of approaching the courts (City Administrative Tribunal) and Mr. Reddy is in the central service.
Dr. Shobhanath Rai belongs to the 1968 batch of the Indian Forest Service. Hailing from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, he holds a doctorate and is a former Director of the Forestry Survey of India, Dehra Dun. He was till now Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Evaluation, Working Plan, Research, and Training). His seniority was first overlooked in July 2001 when B. Natarajan was appointed PCCF and Head of the Department (his appointment to the IFS was in 1975 though he had joined government service 10 years earlier). Dr. Rai questioned Mr. Natarajan's appointment before the Central Administrative Tribunal. When his petition was rejected, he approached the Karnataka High Court which too did not rule in his favour. He then went on an SLP before the Supreme Court. Mr. Natarajan retired in March 2002 and Mr. Ray was appointed in his place. Dr. Rai then challenged Mr. Ray's appointment.
In the appointment of Mr. Ray as the Head of the Department in April 2002, the Government overlooked the seniority of another IFS officer, S.K. Chakrabarthi (also of the 1968 batch) who continues in service as PCCF (Chief Wildlife Warden).
However, to the advantage of Mr. Ray is the fact that he will be in service till February 2007 when he retires from service. He may regain the post after Dr. Rai retires in March 2005. Mr. Chakrabarthi will be retiring in August 2003.
The appointment of Dr. Rai is in some ways similar to the appointment of C. Dinakar as the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, replacing T. Srinivasulu in April 2000. Mr. Dinakar had successfully challenged the overlooking of his seniority and merit up to the Supreme Court.
However, he had to wait for some months for the Government to obey the court order.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of