By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 24 Nov: Speaker Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, whose decision to terminate ad hoc employees of the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat had been stayed by the single bench of Uttarakhand High Court some weeks ago, was today granted relief as the double bench today upheld her decision. The services of ad hoc employees hired after 2012 in the State Vidhan Sabha Secretariat had been terminated. The single bench’s decision which had stayed the Speaker’s decision was today overturned by the double bench.
The single bench’s decision had been challenged before the double bench by the Speaker. The High Court heard the special appeals filed by the Legislative Assembly challenging the single bench’s order of reinstatement of the employees dismissed from the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly Secretariat. After this, the High Court upheld the order of the Legislative Assembly Secretariat, setting aside the order of the single bench.
It may be recalled that the High Court had stayed the Speaker’s decision to terminate the employees appointed by the Assembly Speakers in the past and had ordered their reinstatement. It may be further recalled that Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri Bhushan had terminated the services of 250 employees who had got jobs through backdoor recruitments in the assembly. These include 228 ad hoc appointments while 22 appointments were made through a subpanel, whose legal sanctity was also in question.
Assembly Secretary Mukesh Singhal was suspended with immediate effect and an inquiry instituted against him in the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha recruitment scam case. The three-member expert inquiry committee formed to investigate the recruitments in the Vidhan Sabha had given its report. Based on the recommendation of this report, 150 ad-hoc appointments made in 2016, six ad-hoc appointments made in 2020, 72 ad-hoc appointments made in 2021 and 22 appointments made through a sub-panel were cancelled.