शिमला। स्मार्ट सिटी के मामले पर प्रदेश हाईकोर्ट ने जिस तरह से प्रदेश की नौकरशाही को कटघरे में खड़ा किया है वो डराने वाला है। मुख्यसचिव पी मित्रा से लेकर अतिरिक्त मुख्य सचिवों व बाकी अफसरों समेत नौकरशाहों के कारनामों पर हाईकोर्ट ने जिस तरह की टिप्पणियां की है,वो प्रदेश की जनता की आंखें खोलने वाली है।
इन टिप्पणियों से एक बात साफ हो गई है कि प्रदेश के खजाने से वेतन लेने वाले ये ताकतवर नौकरशाह किस तरह से प्रदेश की जनता के भरोसे के साथ खिलवाड़ कर अपना खेल चलाए हुए और कायदे कानूनों की धज्जियां उड़ा रहे है। संभवत: इन नौकरशाहों ने जो भी किया होगा वो अपने राजनीतिक आकाओं के कहने पर किया होगा। लेकिन कानूनन वो ऐसा कर नहीं सकते थे।
मोदी सरकार ने देश केलिए 20 स्मार्ट बनाने की घोषणा की थी । इनमें से हिमाचल के लिए धर्मशाला को स्मार्ट सिटी के तौर पर विकसति करने के तौर पर घोषणा हुई। लेकिन धर्मशाला का चयन कैसे हुआ इसका पर्दाफाश प्रदेश हाईकोर्ट के फैसले कर दिया है।
हाईकोर्ट ने निदेशक शहरी विकास व इस प्रोजेक्ट के मिशन डायरेक्टर जे एम पठानिया को लेकर टिप्पणी की है कि उन्होंने अपना माइंड एप्लाई नहीं किया।ये भी कहा कि चार अफसरों जिनमे चीफ सेके्रटरी पी मित्रा मनीषा नंदा,पी सी धीमान ही शामिल हुए । बाकी कोई भी शामिल नहीं हुआ।
अदालत ने धर्मशाला को स्मार्ट सिटी घोषित करने केफैसले को रदद कर दिया। लेकिन सवाल ये है कि प्रदेश के जिन अफसरों ने ये सारा खेल खेला व मोदी सरकार व प्रदेश की जनता कीआंखों में धूल झोंकी उनके खिलाफ कौन कार्रवाई करेगा। क्या उनको नौकरी पर रखा जाना चाहिए । क्या वो प्रदेश की जनता को बताएंगे कि उनसे ये सारा काम प्रदेश के मंत्रियों ने करवाया है और ऐसे मंत्रियों को आखिर कुर्सी पर क्यों रहने दिया जाना चाहिए। अब प्रदेश के लिए स्मार्ट सिटी कब मिलेगी ये सवाल खड़ा हो गया है।मजे की बात है कि भाजपा जो इस मसले प र राजनीति करने पर उतारु है किसी भी अफसर के खिलाफ कार्रवाई करने की मांग नहीं कर रही है।
जबकि माकपा नेता व मेयर संजय चौहान जिनकी याचिका पर अदालत ने ये फैसला दिया है वो व उनकी माकपा भी अफसरों व मंत्रियों के खिलाफ कार्रवाई की सीधी मांग नहीं कर रही है। ये सवाल बड़े है। भ्रष्टाचार को लेकर जीरो टॉलरेंस का ढिंढोरा पीटने वाली आम आदमी पार्टी की प्रदेश ईकाई भी अभीतक मौन है। पर बड़ा सवाल ये है कि ऐसे अफसर व नेताओं को कानून वजनता को क्यों झेलना चाहिए। अफसर व सरकार व मंत्रियों के एेसे बहुत से मामले है जिनमें उनकी भूमिकाओं को लेकर अदालतों ने बेहद तल्ख्ा टिप्पणियां की है लेकिन सरकारी खजाने से वेतन लेने वाले ऐसे मंत्रियों व अफसरों के खिलाफ कोई कार्रवाई नहीं हुई है।
हाईकोर्ट ने इस मसले पर जो आदेश दिया है उसे कुछ चुनिंदा व महत्वपूर्ण अंश यहां पर दिए जा रहे है ताकि पाठक इस मामले को सही परिपेक्ष्य में समझ सके।
यहां पढ़े हाईकोर्ट ने स्कोर कार्ड को लेकर अपने फैसले में क्या कहा है-:
. What transpires from the record is that whatever score cards have been sent by fourteen ULB’s, were placed before the meeting held on 29.7.2015. According to Notification annexure P -7 (dated 25.6.2015) whereby HPSC was constituted. Principal Secretary, Finance, Principal Secretary Planning, Principal Secretary/Director UD, representative of MoUD, Mayors and Municipal Commissioners/ Chief Executives of concerned ULBs and Secretary /Engineer- in – Chief of Irrigation & Public Health Engineering Department were members and ACS/Principal Secretary, Urban Development was the Member Secretary. Meeting was convened on 29.7.2015.
30. We have gone through the attendance chart of the participants of 2nd meeting of the HPSC constituted for implementation of Smart Cities Mission held under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to the Government of Himachal Pradesh in his office Chamber on 29.7.2015 at 4.00 pm. The only participants were Mrs. Manisha Nanda, ACS (UD, TCP, Housing), Shri Narinder Chauhan, ACS (Fin. Plg) and Shri P.C.Dhiman, ACS (IPH). Neither the Principal Secretary (Finance) nor the Director UD, Mayor, Municipal Commissioner/Chief Executives and Secretary /Engineer – in – Chief, I&PH has participated in the meeting. The Committee was broad based and all the stake- holders should have been invited to enable them to attend the meeting held on 29.7.2015. Mayor of Municipal Corporation, Shimla had a vital stake in the proceedings. He was not summoned to attend the meetings held on 15.7.2015 and 29.7.2015. Thus, on the basis of the meeting which lacked quorum , decision was taken to recommend and forward case of Dharamshala to the Government of India on 30.7.2015 /31.7.2015.
31. We have already quoted above the para 13.2, verbatim. There was supposed to be a representative of MoUD as per para 13.2. The Joint Secretary (UD), as per office memorandum dated 14.7.2015, was required to participate in the deliberations held on 15.7.2015 and 29 .7.2015 . However, he has not participated in the meeting. It further erodes the credibility of the HPSC, in which Joint Secretary (MoUD) has been made representative of MoUD vide Notification dated 25.6.2015 as well as OM dated 14.7.2015. Presence of Joint Secretary ( MoUD), Director, UD, Mayors and Municipal Commissioners/ Chief Executives of the concerned ULBs and Heads of the concerned State Line Departments was necessary to take a conscious decision while shortlisting cities for inclusion in the list of Smart cities.
32. Reasons assigned in the reply of respondents No. 1 and 2, for non -participation of the representative of MoUD are that meeting was convened on a short notice. ACS/Secretary UD, being the Member Secretary, should have ensured that all the mem bers of the committee were informed in advance.
33. Now, we can summarise that neither State Mission Director has evaluated the proposals nor the quorum of meeting dated 29.7.2015 was complete. It was a coram non judice. We have already pointed out that in ca se evaluation had been undertaken, mistakes committed by Municipal Corporation, Dharamshala while allocating marks to itself, which we have noticed above, could be pointed out to HPSC, more particularly points under item Nos . 3, 4, 13, 14 and 15. We are st ill unable to understand how and why 10 points have been given to Dharamshala city for completion of projects sanctioned under JnNURM without annexing necessary certificate of completion on or before 31.3.2014. Dharamshala was covered only under UIDSSMT. W e have gone through the original record whereby information was sent in Form to Director, Urban Development Department. According to Column No. 15, completion certificate was to be received from the State as on 31.3.2014. It is stated in Form -B that necess ary certificate was attached.
We have gone through the original record. This certificate is not on record. Thus, respondent No. 6 could not be allocated 10 points under the category of ‘percentage of completion of JnNURM projects’. Points allocated to Municipal Corporation, Dharamshala under item Nos. 3, 4, 13, 14 and 15, as per annexure P- 4, were to be excluded while compiling score card. In the reply filed by the respondent -State, it is specifically stated, as noticed by us earlier, that the decision not to include Shimla in the list of Smart Cities primarily has been taken since Municipal Corporation, Shimla has failed to complete JnNURM projects. This reason has not at all been discussed in the meeting held on 29.7.2015. Decision should have been taken in the meeting and the same can not be permitted to be explained on the basis of affidavit. Moreover, the other reason assigned for not including Shimla in the list of potential Smart Cities is that it has been sanctioned AMRUT scheme. This ground has not b een taken in the proceedings held on 29.7.2015. The project for storm water
drainage (Channelization of Nallah in Dharamshala town) was approved and an amount of Rs.190.18 Lakh was approved. The same could not be made a basis for claiming 10 points since it never formed part of the prescribed criteria.
उपरोक्त से ये साफ हो जाता है कि अफसरों ने किस तरह स्कोर कार्ड को लेकर खेल खेला और एक तरह से घपला कर दिया। सवाल उठता है कि क्या इसतरह का खेल खेलने वाले अफसर प्रदेश को चाहिए।
In the instant case also State Mission Director was required to evaluate the data and thereafter place the same before the High Powered Steering Committee for approval. He has abdicated his powers and this establishes that he has acted at the behest of superior officers without applying his own mind as is reflected from the minutes of the meeting held on 29.7.2015.
यहां हाईकोर्ट ने स्टेट मिशन डायरेक्टर जे एम पठानिया को लेकर कहा कि उन्होंने खुद को जिस मंत्री के अधीन वो काम करते है उनके निदेर्शों पर चलने दिया।उन्हें खुद सारे आंकड़ों का मूल्याकंन करना चाहिए था।
यहां जाने हाईकोर्ट के जस्टिस राजीव शर्मा व जस्टिस सुरेश्वर ठाकुर की खंडपीठ ने इस संदर्भ को लेकर क्या कहा है-:
The State Mission Director has apparently abdicated his authority and has permitted himself to be dictated by the Minister under whom he is working. He should have personally evaluated the data supplied to him and thereafter send it for approval of the High Powered Steering Committee. We reiterate that in the proceedings dated 29.7.2015, it is not stated that primarily the case of the Shimla town has been turned down on the pretext that it has not achieved its objective under the JnNURM Scheme and it has been sanctioned a new Scheme i.e. AMRUT. This ground has been taken in the reply filed by the State.
खंडपीठ ने स्मार्ट सिटी को लेकर 15 जुलाई व 29 जुलाई कीहुई बैठकों को आईवाश करार दिया।अदालतने आब्जर्व किया कि फैसला,अपारदर्शी व दागी तरीके से लिया गया है।
The State Mission Director has acted mechanically and blindly not even prima facie satisfying himself whether the criteria laid down has been foll owed by the ULBs . The entire exercise seems to be a formality. The decision has been taken in non -transparent, opaque and tainted manner. The proceedings dated 15.7.2015 and 29.7.2015 are merely an eye wash. The proceedings have not been authenticated. No authority has put their signatures on the proceedings dated 15.7.2015 as well as 29.7.2015 as per the record made available to us . Now, as far as the proceedings dated 29.7.2015 are concerned, there is an attendance chart, but there is no attendance chart for the meeting held on 15.7.2015. The decision taken is unfair. There is procedural impropriety besides irrationality and capriciousness.
हाई पावर कमेटी की बैठक शीघ्रता से बुलाने पर सवाल-:
Initially, it was stated that the meeting could not be convened due to shortage of time but the meeting was convened at 4.00 pm on 29.7.2015. Though, it has come in the noting portion that the members be informed telephonically but it was an impossible situation since no officer except from Shimla or surrounding could attend the meeting at 4.00 pm. We are unable to understand whythere was tearing hurry to complete the proceedings on 29.7.2015 itself when it was open to seek further extension from respondents No. 1 and 2 for identifying smart city. Greater the power to decide, higher is the responsibility to be just and fair. Every officer in the hierarchy of the State by virtue of his being public officer or public servant is accountable for his decisions to the public as well as to the State. The Principles of public accountability and transparency in State action are applicable to the cases of executive or statutory exercise of power.
हाईपावर कमेटी पर सवाल-:
79. In the instant case, the High Powered Committee has ignored the relevant considerations in its meeting held on 29.7.2015. The Committee was required to consider the entire gamut on the basis of the guidelines framed instead of being dictated. The manner in which the proceedings have been held, including the meeting on 15.7.2015 and 29.7.2015, smacks of bad faith. We have already considered at depth that the State Mission Director has not evaluated the Form- II received from the ULBs. He has not placed it before the High Powered Steering Committee for approval. The notings reveal that earlier it was suggested that the meeting could not have been held on 29.7.2015, but the same was hel d on the same day in a hush-hush and hurried manner The members of the Committee were not even informed.
The purpose of High Powered Committee was to have broad based discussion. The petitioner has also alleged specific mala fides against the Minister c oncerned, but he has not been made party.
However, there is sufficient material to reflect that there is malice in the proceedings. It also amounts to colourable exercise of power since the power vested in the Members of the ommittee has been used for the purpose, other than for which it was supposed to be. The State Mission Director has abdicated /surrendered his powers by not at all evaluating the self appraisal sent by the Urban Local Bodies, as if, he was being dictated by some other agency.
80. The p roceedings dated 15.7.2015 and 29.7.2015 are also arbitrary, unreasonable, capricious and irrational. The powers vested in the bureaucracy must be exercised in larger public interest and not to serve the private interest of any individual in the hierarchy . There must be fairness and reasonableness while forming the opinion. The power vested in the High Powered Committee has been used for improper and ulterior purposes. There is misdirection of fact and law, both, by the High Powered Committee. There i s non -application of mind by all the Members of the Committee since they have not even insisted for the production of the material before them after evaluation by the State Mission Director. Members like Mayor of Shimla town, Joint Secretary (UD) and others have been left out from the deliberations. The meeting was to be convened by giving sufficient time to all the stakeholders to be present in the meeting, including the nominee of the Central Government.
सरकार की विभिन्न अफसरों का ये पावर का गलत इस्तेमाल-:
The High Powered Committee was supposed to approve the evaluation undertaken by the Mission Director, as per the Scheme of the Act. The Committee has usurped the powers of State Mission Director by straightway ta king up the matter without the evaluation placed before it. It is a classic case of blatant abuse of power by the various functionaries of the State by considering extraneous considerations and overlooking the basic issues. Key responsibilities of the HPSC, as per Notification dated 25.6.2015 (annexure P- 7) were to provide guidance to the mission and provide State level platform for exchange of ideas pertaining to development of smart cities, to oversee the process of first stage intra -state competition of the basis of stage criteria and to review the SCPs and send to the MoUD for participation in the challenge. It has failed to discharge its responsibilities even as per Notification dated 25.6.2015 (annexure P- 7).
82. Accordingly, in view of the analysis and discussion made hereinabove, the present writ petition is allowed. The proceedings of first meeting held on 15.7.2015 and 2nd meeting held on 29.7.2015 of the State Level High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) and communications dated 30. 7.2015 and 31.7.2015 sent to the Government of India as well as Annexure P- 2 dated 27.8.2015 are quashed and set aside and also all the consequential proceedings and decisions including submission of DPR by the State Government to the Government of India.
Respondent Nos. 3 and 4 are directed to redo the entire exercise as per the observations made hereinabove in letter and spirit of the Mission Statement and Guidelines for selecting Smart Cities Mission within two weeks and thereafter respondents No. 3 and 4 shall forthwith send new recommendations to respondents No.1 and 2. Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 are further directed to treat it as a special case and process the same with other applicants.
83. Alas! The decision to exclude Shimla city and include Dharamshala town , in the list of potential Smart Cities, has not been taken ‘smartly’.
( Sureshwar Thakur)
December 17, 2015
इस तरह हाईकोर्ट ने मोदी सरकार की ओर से धर्मशाला को स्मार्ट सिटी घोषित करने केफैसले को रदद कर दिया और सरकार को आदेश दिए कि वो दोबारा पूरी प्रक्रिया शुरू करे। पर सवाल ये है कि जिन अफसरोंने ये सारा कारनामा अंजाम दिया उनके खिलाफ कौन कार्रवाई करेगा।