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Appointment of ex-UT Advisor as PCA chairman under high court scanner | The Indian Express

Related. Appointment of former UT Advisor Pradip Mehra as chairman of Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has come under Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner. For, the High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Advisor to UT Administrator; Chandigarh Home Secretary and Mehra on a public interest litigation (PIL). Jointly filed by Advocate HC Arora and RTI activist RK Garg, the petition demanded quashing of the notification dated November 8 last vide which the PCA was reconstituted and Mehra was appointed chairman. The petitioners have contended that a PCA can only be headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge. The petitioners have also referred to a Supreme Court judgment which makes it mandatory for the state government or Administration to seek a panel of judges from the concerned Chief Justice of the high court for selecting chairman of the authority. The Supreme Court judgment, dated September 22, 2006 in which the Apex Court had directed all states/UTs to constitute PCA explicitly states that a state government/UT will have to seek a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice. The relevant para of the judgment reads “State-level authority may be headed by a retired Judge of the high court/Supreme Court. The head of the state-level complaints authority shall be chosen by the state out of a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice.” Significantly, the administration did not seek a panel of names from the high court. To corroborate their claim, the petitioners have produced information gathered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Advocate HC Arora said, the notification dated June 23, 2010 under which PCA was initially constituted is illegal. For, according to Arora, the notification makes an IAS officer of secretary-level also eligible for appointment as chairperson of the authority. After the term of the three-member PCA had expired, the authority was reconstituted on November 8 last. It has been further argued that while appointing Mehra as chairperson of the authority, the names were short-listed earlier by Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh and Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh Police, which were processed by UT home secretary. Thereafter, the UT administrator appointed Mehra as chairman though his name was not included in the list of people short-listed by the home secretary. For reasons best known to them, the administrator/advisor, it was argued, did not seek a panel of names of retired Judges from the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana high court.
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