The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday found fault with the appointment of advisors for different departments by the state government and termed it a “dangerous affair”.
A division bench of Chief Justice Prashanth Kumar Mishra and Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu, taking up hearing of petitions challenging appointment of J. Srikanth as advisor for the Endowments Department and that of N. Chandrasekhar Reddy as advisor for employee welfare, court wondered if an advisor would be appointed for employees’ TA and DA.
Advocate General S. Sriram submitted to the court that the government is appointing qualified persons as advisors. He argued that the government is taking the advice of these persons before making final decisions.
The high court earlier this month had directed the state government to submit all records pertaining to the appointment of advisors to the government. The bench wondered how these advisors can advise better than the senior IAS officers.
It had also wondered how many advisors can be appointed and at what level. It posed questions about eligibility criteria and asked whether advisors can be appointed to departments.
Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Seva Sangha Samakhya spokesperson H.K. Rajasekhara Rao filed a PIL challenging appointment of Srikanth as advisor to the Endowments Department, terming it “extra-constitutional”.
The counsel of the petitioner had argued that appointment of an advisor to a department is not traceable to any of the Articles in the Constitution.
The bench had asked the government what was his expertise that warranted his appointment as an advisor to the department.
It had observed that having an advisor to a person like the Chief Minister is different from an advisor to a department. “Are we creating a new cadre outside the service cadre,” it asked.
In August last year, the court stayed the appointment of Srikanth but vacated the same later.