SC says Maya govt lacked objectivity

Dismissing the appeal by Rajesh Awasthi against the Allahabad High Court's decision of quashing his appointment as the chairperson of Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), the Supreme Court on Friday said his appointment by the then Mayawati government showed absence of "intellectual objectivity" in the decision making process.

The Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said: "There has been a total non-compliance of the statutory provision by the Selection Committee which makes the decision-making process vulnerable, warranting interference by the constitutional courts and, therefore, the High Court is justified in holding that the appointment is non est (non-existent) in law."

The main ground for quashing Awasthi's appointment was the contention that he was not eligible because of the "interest involved with the state government with M/s J P Power Venture of which he was the vice-president".

Allowing a petition by a former energy department employee, Nand Lal Jaiswal, the High Court had said the state government might hold fresh selection with prior permission of the Election Commission after the Assembly polls. While the BSP government challenged the HC order, the incumbent SP government decided to withdraw the petition. In August, the SC allowed Awasthi's appeal.

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