PIL in HC seeks guidelines for appointment of political functionaries as public servants


A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Central Government and Delhi Government to constitute a committee for the framing of guidelines for the appointments of persons holding official positions in political parties as public servants.
The plea seeks direction to the respondents to remove the persons from their posts who have acted or are continuing to act in wilful ignorance of the principle of neutrality and holding any official position in a political party while being a public servant. The petitioner, Sonali Tiwary, a practising lawyer in Delhi, states in the petition that the public servants have failed to act neutrally and, due to their affiliation with such political parties, have misused the public resources entrusted to them.
The petition mentions the names of several political leaders belonging to the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Congress, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being appointed to government posts and, even after such appointments, they continue to engage in political activities, which is in direct contravention of the principle of neutrality and also interferes with the performance of the public duty of the public servant.
The people occupying such venerated offices are expected to maintain neutrality and remain impartial in their decisions. However, holding any kind of official position within a political party would negate the very purpose behind the neutrality of public servants, states the plea.
The political affiliation of a public servant would result in the rampant misuse of public office for the political gains of the public servant in office and for the undue benefit of the political party that has appointed him. The plea stated that such political activities of public servants will erode the faith of the general public in government officials as they will be reduced to being the mouthpieces of the political parties.
The concept of fundamental rights of speech and expression and the right to association cannot be stretched to include within it a right for public servants to express their political views publicly and in the media and associate themselves with specific political parties. The taxpayers’ money should not be exploited to promote the agenda of a political party, said the plea.