Karnataka HC upholds removal of minorities panel head

Azeem was appointed chairman in 2019 for a period of three years, by the then BJP government.
Representative Image
Representative Image

BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court dismissed the petition filed by Abdul Azeem, questioning the notification issued by the state government on December 15, 2023, removing him from the post of chairman of Karnataka State Minorities Commission.

Accepting the government’s contention that Section 4 of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission Act itself indicates that the chairperson will function subject to the pleasure of the government, Justice M Nagaprasanna dismissed the petition. Azeem was appointed chairman in 2019 for a period of three years, by the then BJP government.

In 2022, his tenure was extended for another three years and was to come to an end on October 15, 2025. In May 2023, the Congress government came to power in the state and all nominations made by the earlier government were annulled. Accordingly, Azeem’s second tenure was cancelled.

He submitted a representation, seeking to withdraw cancellation of his nomination, which was accepted and he continued as chairman. He also submitted a representation to the state government in May 2023, to allow him to complete his term as chairman for another 2 years and 5 months. When there was a delay in considering it, he moved the high court.

During the pendency of the petition, the state government cancelled his nomination as chairman. On December 19, 2023, the high court passed an interim order, staying cancellation of his nomination. The advocate-general argued that Section 4 of the Act indicates that the chairperson will function, subject to the pleasure of the government.

Meanwhile, an application filed by the state government seeking vacation of the interim order indicated misconduct on the part of the petitioner while discharging his duties. The petitioner’s counsel argued that removal of the petitioner comes under Section 5 of the Act as allegations are made against him, and no notice was issued before removing him.   

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