Government can replace panel head: Himachal HC

Shimla : The Himachal Pradesh High Court Tuesday stamped the state government’s “doctrine of pleasure” power in replacing state commission for women chief Dhaneshwari Thakur, who was appointed by the previous BJP government, before the expiry of her term.

Dismissing Thakur’s petition, a division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan observed: “We are of the considered view that the petitioner has no right to question the orders made by the state government while exercising the ‘doctrine of pleasure’.”

Support TwoCircles

At the same time, the court also observed that “the petitioner was sailing in the same boat in which the present chairperson Jenab Chandel is sailing”.

Thakur contested that she was removed from the post in December last by the present Congress government without following procedure and without affording her an opportunity of being heard.

Quoting judgments of the Supreme Court and this high court, the bench said “the state has powers to remove any officer, who was appointed at the pleasure of the state, before he/she completes the fixed tenure”.

The state contended that the appointment of the chairperson of the commission was to be made at the pleasure of the governor and ‘doctrine of pleasure’ was applicable.

“The petitioner came to be appointed due to political considerations. The concept of principle of natural justice is not applicable more so when the appointments have been made without following any selection process and procedure but at the pleasure of the government,” the state said.

The court said the state has exercised power of “doctrine of pleasure” in both the cases – in the removal of the chairperson and in appointing the incumbent.

“It cannot be questioned by a person who was also appointed in the same fashion and cannot complain about the principle of natural justice,” the bench said.