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Friday, February 12, 2016

Governor seeks resignation from Adv Gen, 40 AAGs/DAGs, other political appointees

Law Department’s call: ‘Tender your resignations by tomorrow’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Feb 11: In yet another significant development, which could not be ordinarily without consultation with the Government of India, the State bureaucracy on Thursday directed all the political appointees of the erstwhile Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government in Jammu and Kashmir to tender their resignations within 24 hours.

Highly placed authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that officials of the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs called almost all the government advocates in Srinagar as well as Jammu to furnish their resignation letters by Friday. They have been, however, asked to continue to pursue the government business in different courts till acceptance or rejection of their resignation by the Governor’s administration.

Around 40 political appointees of the Law Department who were asked to vacate include Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai besides all the Additional AGs, Deputy AGs and Government Advocates. In Srinagar, four AAGs, who had been appointed days before Mufti’s death on January 7 during the court’s winter vacations and started work only on February 1st, had not received the telephonic call till the evening. They include Mohammad Amin Rathore, Nazir Ahmad Baba, former Chief Justice Bilal Nazki’s son Mehfooz Nazki and former Rural Development Minister Abdul Haq Khan’s son Vikar Khan.

Governor Narendra Nath Vohra’s decision to relieve the government advocates, and possibly to engage a fresh team of the lawyers, came days after the appointment of the retired IAS officers, Parvez Dewan and Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, as his Advisors. Both the developments indicate that Governor was not seeing formation of the PDP-BJP coalition in near future. His decision to disengage the government advocates is also significant in the sense that most of these political appointees are the close relatives and promotees of the BJP and the PDP leaders besides some High Court judges including two former Chief Justices and a sitting Chief Justice.

Senior PDP leader and former Rural Development Minister Abdul Haq Khan’s son Vikar Khan, BJP’s Kashmir Provincial President Ghulam Mohammad Mir’s daughter Shazia Mir and PDP leader Nizam-ud-din Bhat’s son Meraj Bhat are being relieved in Srinagar. Similarly in Jammu, relatives and promotees of senior BJP leaders and former Ministers have been asked to quit. Those being relieved in Jammu include the daughter of a retired Director General of Police and the wife of an Inspector General of Police.

Sources said that Governor also directed General Administration Department to ask the other political appointees, including the heads of several autonomous bodies, boards, PSUs and corporation to tender their resignations. However, it was not immediately clear if any deadline had been set for them. Heads of the autonomous bodies and corporations appointed by the Mufti government had been all recommended either by PDP or by BJP. Of them, Chairperson of State Women’s Commission Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor and head of the Wakf body Peer Mohammad Hussain had also attended PDP’s Core Group meeting in Srinagar after the Chief Minister’s death.

Reports awaiting confirmation said that Governor’s administration was likely to engage a fresh team of the government advocates. One among the former AG, D.C. Raina, and the State Government’s former representative in Supreme Court of India, Gaurav Pachnanda, is likely to be appointed as the new Advocate General.


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