CHANDIGARH: In a major relief to senior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka, Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered to expunge the ‘adverse’ remarks made by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar in his annual performance appraisal report 2016-17, after he moved the court for its removal in January this year.
Khemka the 1991 batch IAS officer who is presently posted as principal secretary of the state sports department, in his plea had asked the court to expunge the remarks made by the CM in his Annual Confidential Report (ACR) as it hampered his chances of elevation to a next level.
High court had also issued notice for the same to Haryana government last month on Khemka’s plea following which the verdict was pronounced today.
In Khemka’s ACR report of 2016-17, Haryana Chief Secretary DS Dhesi had rated him 8.22 out of 10. Then Haryana sports and youth affairs minister Anil Vij, who is Khemka’s reviewing authority, had rated him 9.92 out of 10 for ‘overall grading on attributes’ by observing that “Ashok Khemka has shown excellent achievement under severe constraints.
But on December 31, 2017 Chief Minister Khattar who is the appraisal accepting authority, rated Khemka 9 out of 10 which is outstanding. However, he wrote that Vij’s report on Khemka is ‘slightly exaggerated’.
It was these remarks of Khattar that would have affected Khemka's elevation to the next level for the post of additional secretary at the Centre. As per rules, only twenty per cent officers of a particular batch are considered for a higher scale and in such a scenario, Khattar’s remarks would have worked against him.
Khemka had earlier faced the wrath of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for cancelling a land deal between DLF and Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra. He has been transferred almost 52 times in his career spanning over 27 years.