PM refutes contempt of court charges
KATHMANDU, SEP 11 - Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has told the Supreme Court (SC) that the transfer of Secretary of Brinda Hada was part of the government's internal administrative work and that nothing he had done was in contempt of court .
Responding to the SC's contempt of court charge, Bhattarai furnished a written reply to the apex court on Monday where he claimed that he was not a defendant in the writ filed by Hada, challenging the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) decision to transfer her on deputation. Bhattarai also told the court that he had not received any order issued by the court in this regard.
PM Bhattarai argued that he had discharged his duties as per the authority vested in him by the law in his capacity as prime minister. Bhattarai countered Hada's claim that unless a bureaucrat, who is the head of a ministry, department or any other unit expresses their willingness, they cannot be transferred to a position of equal status at a lower agency. Hada was transferred to the Financial Comptroller General Office (FCGO) and was later sent on deputation to the PMO. Bhattarai argued that the FCGO is a central-level authority of the government that is headed by a special class officer--secretary.
Bhattarai clarified that, as per the provision, it was not necessary to mention the reason for transferring a special class officer in the transfer letter as the recommendation of the Transfer Recommendation Committee is binding on the part of the Cabinet. Bhattarai questioned Hada's intention, stating that in the past, the same committee had recommended her transfer to different ministries and units of the government but that she had never raised any questions then.
The prime minister also clarified that Hada's claim that a civil servant cannot be transferred against their will by stating that this provision only applies if the civil servants are in retiring a year or less, citing the age limit. Bhattarai argued that Hada is retiring on October 10 as the five-year term of her post is coming to an end.
SC, last Monday, had directed PM Bhattarai and Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel to furnish written clarifications within seven days through their representatives. Poudel has already presented his reply to the court.
Citing the government's 'failure' to implement a stay order that reinstated her at her previous posting at the Ministry of Irrigation, Secretary Brinda Hada, last Thursday, filed a contempt of court case at the SC against Bhattarai and other defendants. On August 23, the court had stayed the PMO's August 17 decision to transfer Hada on deputation at the PM's office. Earlier, Hada had challenged the PMO decision claiming that she was transferred to a position of equal status but at a lower agency, going against existing provisions.
Posted on: 2012-09-11 07:00