IAS officer Ashok Khemka. (File Photo)
IAS officer Ashok Khemka. (File Photo)

Professional integrity in political, social, democratic system depleting rapidly: High court

ANI | Updated: Mar 19, 2019 16:23 IST

Chandigarh (India) Mar 19 (ANI): Professional integrity in the political, social and democratic system is depleting very fast, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed while protecting senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka and asking the Haryana government to strike off the negative remarks from his Annual Confidential Report.
"We are of the view that a person of such professional integrity needs to be protected as the professional integrity in our political, social and democratic system is depleting very fast," a division bench comprising Justices Rajiv Sharma and Kuldip Singh said in its verdict on Monday.
The court also observed that such officers whose integrity is beyond question and doubt have to face adverse circumstances. "An officer with such integrity many times has to face adverse circumstances....," it said.
"The severe constraints in which an honest officer works under the political leadership are well known. There are so many pulls and pressures and the officer has to work according to the rules despite all these pulls and pressures," the bench said.
On the shortcomings in the recording of the Performance Appraisal Report (PAR), the court said, "We are of the view that the time frame fixed under the Rule for recording PAR is not a watertight compartment and there can be some flexibility in the same."
The court directed the Haryana government to remove the negative comments from the Annual Confidential Report ACR) of Khemka, who is holding the rank of Principal Secretary to the Haryana government.
"We are of the considered view that the remarks recorded by the Accepting Authority are liable to be expunged. The Accepting Authority has recorded that the Reviewing Authority has differed with the Reporting Authority but not given any reason for the same," it said.
The bench had reserved its verdict on March 12 on a plea filed by Khemka alleging that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had reduced his rating in the appraisal report and sought removal of the negative remarks.
In Khemka's ACR, Chief Secretary DS Dhesi (Reporting Authority) rated him 8.22. Next, state Sports Minister Anil Vij (Reviewing Authority) awarded a rating of 9.92. However, when the report was sent to Chief Minister Khattar (Accepting Authority), he gave a rating of 9 out of 10.
The 1991-batch IAS officer had reportedly cancelled a land deal between Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and realty developer DLF in 2012, and that is when he shot into limelight. (ANI)