Delhi High Court today asked the government why a person with even a “slight taint” should be heading the SPMCIL which produces bank notes, coins, postage stamps, non-judicial stamps and government-related documents.
“Why should you even have a person who has a slight taint,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government on a PIL challenging appointment and extension of tenure of the CMD of Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd (SPMCIL).
The court made the query as the petition challenging the appointment of M S Rana as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) alleged there are various enquiries pending against him and that he was involved in cases of illegal procurement.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said there was no negative material against the CMD.
The court also asked the government on what grounds Rana’s tenure was being extended as it had ended in March 2014 and the Finance Ministry had refused to extend it.
The ASG, in response, said an Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) comprising the Prime Minister and Home Minister is looking into the matter of the CMD’s extension and it is yet to decide.
“When is ACC to take a decision? Till ACC delays decision he will continue in the post,” the court said and sought an assurance that the high-powered committee would meet in a week and decide the matter.
The court also suggested that either the government can extend Rana’s tenure by giving valid reasons or it can refuse an extension.
It also questioned why the records in the petition have not been sent to ACC and why the government has been “sitting” on it far past two months.
Thereafter, the ASG assured that records of the petition will be placed “shortly” placed before the ACC which would in all likelihood take a decision within six weeks.
The court expressed hope that a decision would be taken before next date of July 22 as Rana’s tenure had already ended and he was continuing in a sensitive position.