The Hush Post: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s personal choice of a top level officer in the state administration Suresh Kumar appointed as chief principal secretary, Punjab, after his retirement in 2016, has been set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Delivering the judgement, Justice Rajan Gupta said he was holding the post in violation of Article 166(3) of the Constitution. After his retirement as an additional chief secretary in 2016, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had appointed him as the chief principal secretary in March for a period of five years. Kumar was put on the same pay scale as a cabinet secretary of the Government of India. The petitioner’s counsel argued that the tenure of Suresh Kumar was made co-terminus with the government.
The petition against the appointment was filed by Mohali resident Ramandeep Singh through his counsel HS Brar. The appointment was challenged on the grounds that it was against the Constitutional scheme and accepted norms. It was alleged that the appointment orders of Suresh Kumar were issued in such a hurry and secretively that no official circular has been issued till date even to the administrative secretaries of Punjab government. The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that the appointment was done without Governor’s permission. Former Solicitor General of India Ranjit Kumar represented the government in the case.