Improving upon its previous stand, the Haryana government has now decided that consultation with the high court for appointment of chairman and members for the state tax tribunal is not necessary.
Justifying the selection of chairman and members of the Haryana Tax Tribunal, the government has apprised the Punjab and Haryana High Court that there is nothing unjustified in the selection process. The government informed that court about this last week, in response to a petition challenging the selection process.
A petition by advocate H C Arora had challenged the appointments of former IAS officer K S Bhoria as the chairman of tribunal and those of Subhash Kaushik and Mukesh Lata as its members. He had contended that the selection was faulty since the high court was not consulted prior to appointing chairman and members of the tribunal. Arora had referred to the Constitution and Supreme Court judgments to argue that it was mandatory to hold such consultations with the high court.
He also claimed that the appointments were made "on a pick and choose basis, at the will of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda". In response, the government had stated that it was in the process of reconsidering the entire matter. Following this, on April 3, the court was informed that the state has amended statutory provisions for implementing directions of the high court.
However, now a fresh affidavit by the state last week had stated that the government has notified the selection procedure, which it will follow. Significantly, it has been said that the judgment referred to by the petitioner's counsel was "distinguishable" and the selections termed as "valid".
The notification does not provide for consultation with the high court before making appointments to the posts. It only provides for advertising vacancies by putting up a notice on the official website, for considering all applications by a search committee who would recommend candidates. The case will come up for hearing on May 7.