CM-CS cold war takes ugly turn

| 09 August 1999 23:17 IST

The cold war between Goa’s Congress government and the chief secretary has taken an ugly turn with chief minister Luizinho Faleiro withdrawing the official staff and even taking over powers of the CS to write confidential reports of his subordinates.

Amidst protests from the opposition parties, Faleiro has literally wiped out the post chief secretary Seva Ram Sharma was holding, by issuing a circular with retrospective effect from 9 June, the day he took over reins of the government.

The circular deletes name of the chief secretary as the reporting authority or the reviewing authority to write the CR of all the All India Service officers posted in Goa, replacing it with the chief minister. It is considered first instance of a kind in Indian history where a politician has taken over the executive powers.

It makes Faleiro the sole authority to write CR of all the top bureaucrats, ranging from the chief secretary, the secretaries, the Director General of Police and even the collectors. Even in lower cadres, chief minister is being replaced with the CS as either the reviewing authority or the accepting authority.

Calling it patently illegal, legal experts doubt whether such a circular would have legal sanctity as Faleiro has not even bothered to follow the rules laid down under All India Services (CR) Rules 1970, framed under section 3 of the All India Services Act, 1951. These rules provide for three different authorities - reporting, reviewing and accepting - to maintain objectivity of the CR.

"It is not only dictatorial but a dangerous trend, which may have ramification all over the country if allowed in such a manner", says Manohar Parrikar, the state opposition leader belonging to the BJP. He as well as Dr Wilfred de Souza, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, have protested against it to Governor Lt Gen (Retd) J F R Jacob.

As Goan bureaucracy as well as citizens groups are yet to react to it, Aires Rodrigues, a London-based Goan, has faxed a protest letter to the local bench of Mumbai high court, with a request to admit it as the public interest litigation. "This interference of the Legislative in the Executive is without precedent in India", he points out.

While Faleiro has also requested the centre to recall Sharma immediately, Parrikar informs that union home ministry has referred the matter to the election commission asking whether he could be transferred when elections are round the corner. The local BJP unit has however objected to such a transfer till elections.

Taking a step ahead, Parrikar has also requested the EC to replace the existing chief election officer in Goa since he is also one of the state secretaries, whose CR would be now written only by the chief minister, a politician. "How could he conduct free and fair elections in such a situation" asks the opposition leader.

According to Parrikar, the whole ‘illegal game’ has been manoeuvred by Faleiro’s special secretary Dr M Modassir, whose allegedly amassing wealth is being investigated into by the anti-corruption bureau of Goa police. The instructions to this effect were issued by the governor during Presidential regime, after Sharma had referred the matter forwarded by the additional secretary (personnel) of the central government to him.

This action appears to be a final blow by Faleiro after he had stripped Sharma off all the major portfolios last month, leaving only home, printing & stationary and weights & measures with him. Sharma now sits in the office without much work while his secretarial staff has also been transferred to the CMO.

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