Hc notice on plea challenging appointments made to punjab district consumer forums
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notice in a petition challenging the selection process held for filling up of vacant posts of the presidents of district consumer forums in Punjab. The petition has also challenged the rules regarding appointments to the state consumer commission and district fora in the state and alleges that ineligible persons were appointed to the posts by state government last year.
In the petition filed by Gurdaspur’s Assistant District Attorney Bhupinder Kumar Sharma through advocate Shekhar Verma, it has been argued that certain clauses of The Punjab Consumer Protect (Appointment, Salary, Allowances and Conditions of Service of the President and Members of the State Commission and the District Forum) Rules, 2018 are ultra vires to the Consumer Protection Act and Punjab Superior Judicial Service Rules.
“The impugned clauses provide for selection criteria for the post of president, district consumer forums, Punjab and the selection criteria allow persons who are otherwise not qualified to be a district judge, to be selected to the post,” the petition reads, adding the selection criteria laid down by the government dilutes the qualifications required for the post as prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act.
The petition questions at least three appointments made to the posts in 2019 contending that they are not qualified to be the presidents of the forums as neither are they or had been district judges nor they are qualified to be district judges.
It also questions another appointment of a former district attorney on the ground that he has been selected without any written test even if he may have been eligible for the post of district judge. The four persons have been selected without any written test or fulfillment of other eligibility criteria, the petition alleges.
The petition also contends that the selection criteria laid down by the state creates a discriminatory distinction between practicing advocates and the law officers who have been in appointment of the State government, adding the latter have been given exemption from the written test and they are selected only on the basis of their annual confidential reports.