The Supreme Court has directed the Maharashtra government to appoint an IAS officer as the chief executive officer of Shree Sai Baba Sansthan Trust ahead of its centenary year celebrations at Shirdi. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar asked the counsel appearing for the state government as to why it is not appointing an IAS officer as the CEO to look after the affairs of the trust. Advocate Nishant Ramakantrao Katneshwarkar, appearing for the state, said that the government has agreed to appoint an IAS officer for the post to look after the affairs of the trust ahead of the centenary year celebrations starting this year. He also sought permission to withdraw the petition filed by the previous Congress government in Maharashtra against a Bombay High Court which said that an IAS officer not below the rank of a deputy collector be appointed as the CEO. The direction had been given by the high court’s Aurangabad bench on May 2, 2014.
The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, granted permission to withdraw the plea but directed that an IAS officer be appointed as the CEO by March 15 this year. As per section 13 (2) of the Shree Sai Baba Sansthan Trust (Shridi) Act, 2004, the CEO may be selected from amongst officers not below the rank of a deputy collector. Then Congress government had challenged the said order of high court and the apex court had granted stay on the interim order.
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On February 13, the apex court had directed the state government counsel to seek instruction on appointment of an IAS officer as the CEO of the trust.