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Chautala curbs Governorís powers

Chandigarh, May 4: The Om Prakash Chautala government is heading for a showdown with Governor Babu Parmanand.

In the latest move to curtail the Governorís powers, Chautala has made a Cabinet sub-committee the final authority in deciding penalties for Haryana government employees. Till now, Parmanand was empowered to hear appeals from government employees. He was the final appellate authority for those dismissed or demoted from service.

The punished employees could earlier make a mercy appeal to the Governor by routing it through the chief ministerís office. The final authority in the case of Central government employees, including IAS and IPS officers, is the President.

In Haryana, only members of the Cabinet sub-committee will now be empowered to hear the memorials. A senior official said this might remove the element of impartiality in deciding mercy appeals as the Governor is regarded as being above petty politics.

A disgruntled secretariat worker said: ďThis is an example of Chautalaís dictatorial attitude. If he had his way, he would even change the Constitution and do away with the Governorís post.Ē

Sources say Chautala is annoyed with Parmanand for withholding three Bills relating to municipal and panchayat polls. The Bills seek to make it obligatory for the State Election Commission to consult the government before announcing the dates for elections to the municipal bodies and panchayats.

The Governor is likely to forward the Bills to the President as he feels that giving the government such sweeping powers would be unconstitutional and would undermine the State Election Commissionís authority.

Two years ago, the government controversially pardoned some people serving life sentences for murder. This, despite the Governor sending the file back for reconsideration.

In February, Chautala abolished the posts of pro-vice chancellor in the three state universities as they were appointed by the Governor without consulting the government.

It is said that D.S. Hoodaís appointment as pro-vice-chancellor of Kurukshetra University when Chautala was on a foreign tour so enraged the chief minister that he decided to curtail Parmanandís powers.

The government is also angry at the Governorís refusal to give his assent to the Bill allowing casinos in Haryana, instead referring it to the President.

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