Vice-President Dhankhar appoints personal staff on 20 RS panels; 'institutional subversion' says Opposition
Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar has appointed at least eight of his personal staff on 20 house committees under the Upper House
With an alleged aim to closely monitor parliamentary committees at the behest of the Central government, vice-president and Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar has appointed at least eight of his personal staff on 20 house committees under the Upper House.
Calling it “institutional subversion” and “illegal” opposition leaders have opined that the move has been done "to keep a close watch on various committees, which clearly shows his no confidence in the existing mechanism".
Indian Express has reported that the officers attached to the committees from the vice-president’s staff are Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Rajesh N Naik, Private Secretary (PS) Sujeet Kumar, Additional Private Secretary Sanjay Verma and OSD Abhyuday Singh Shekhawat. From the Rajya Sabha chairman’s office, the appointees are his OSDs Akhil Choudhary, Dinesh D, Kaustubh Sudhakar Bhalekar, and PS Aditi Chaudhary.
An order issued from the Rajya Sabha secretariat on Tuesday said that these officers have been attached with immediate effect.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh called the move "unprecedented".
Advocate and rights activist Prashant Bhushan called it an illegal move and said it was an instance of “abuse of power by VP.”
"8 members of personal staff of VP & RS Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar have been appointed to 20 committees that come under the ambit of the RS as per an order released by the RS secretariat on Tuesday, raising eyebrows" sais Prashant Bhushan.
Congress’s Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari asked, “Would this not tantamount to institutional subversion?”.
"VP is Chairperson of Council of States Ex-officio.He is not a Member of House like Vice Chairperson or Panel of Vice Chairpersons. How can he appoint personal staff on Parliamentary Standing Committees?Would this not tantamount to institutional subversion?," Tiwari wrote on Twitter.
Jairam Ramesh, Congress’s Rajya Sabha chief whip told Indian Express that he planned to take up the issue with Dhankhar as all committees of the Rajya Sabha “already have competent staff drawn from the secretariat.”
Trinamool Congress sources were quoted saying that scrutiny of bills, which was 67 per cent in 2014, has now dipped to 14 per cent. There were no discussions under Rule 267 over the last five years.