Somesh Kumar relieved as Telangana Chief Secreatary, transferred to AP cadre

DoPT’s order came hours after the Telangana HC set aside and quashed the order by Hyderabad branch of Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) allocating Somesh Kumar to the Telangana cadre.  

Published: 11th January 2023 09:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2023 09:41 AM   |  A+A-

Somesh Kumar

Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, a portfolio held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday relieved Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar from the Telangana cadre and directed him to join the Andhra Pradesh cadre by January 12.

The DoPT’s order came hours after the Telangana High Court set aside and quashed the order by Hyderabad branch of Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) allocating Somesh Kumar to the Telangana cadre.  

After the High Court order, Somesh Kumar called on Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Pragathi Bhavan where the two held a discussion. In all likelihood, Somesh Kumar may challenge the HC order in the Supreme Court.

However, if Somesh Kumar opts to resign, in case he doesn’t get a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court, he might be appointed as an advisor or be given some important assignment by the State government.

Somesh Kumar, a 1989 batch IAS officer and the fifth Chief Secretary of Telangana, took charge as CS on December 31, 2019. He is the longest-serving CS in the history of the State.

Earlier in the day, Telangana High Court on Tuesday upheld a writ appeal filed by the DoPT seeking suspension of the March 2016 CAT order. A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice S Nanda, which heard the writ appeal filed by the DoPT, ruled: “We are of the unshakeable opinion that CAT erred by meddling with the allocation list and (are) setting the same aside. The order of CAT to that effect is unsupportable both legally and factually.”

The bench also rejected a plea by Avinash Reddy, appearing for Somesh Kumar, to stay the orders for three weeks to allow his client to seek a legal remedy.  The bench said the instructions from the CAT to consider Somesh Kumar as an All India Service Officer of the State of Telangana with all related privileges was completely without authority.

“Since the Union government controls the cadre, such a directive could not have been given by CAT. It is clear that the CAT had analysed the challenge to the Somesh Kumar allocation ruling as an appellate authority, substituting its opinions for those of the Union government, which is against the law,” the bench said.

Genesis of the case
It may be mentioned here that at the time of bifurcation, Somesh Kumar was assigned to Andhra Pradesh in 2014 by the Pratyush Sinha Committee. He appealed the decision before the CAT, which reversed the order in 2016 and sent him to Telangana.

CAT relied on dubious claims made by Somesh, ASG tells court

Following this, the DoPT filed an appeal against the CAT ruling in the High Court in 2017.
Appearing for the DoPT, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) T Surya Karan Reddy told the court that the CAT relied on dubious claims made by Somesh Kumar which he never brought up in front of the Union government during the division process. Surya Karan Reddy also argued that a bureaucrat has no right to claim that the State to which he has been assigned is unsuitable for him.

The PK Mohanty angle

Somesh had complained that prior to June 1, 2014, PK Mohanty, the then chief secretary of undivided AP, should have been included on the list of bureaucrats to be split between residuary AP and the new State of Telangana. Somesh Kumar claimed that if that had been done, he would have been allocated to the Telangana cadre. Somesh Kumar also took issue with Mohanty being a part of the Pratuyush Sinha advisory council.

The ASG informed the High Court that since Mohanty was retiring at midnight on June 1, 2014, it was pointless to have his name on the list. He also said that any CS would automatically become an ex-officio member of the division committee due to his position.

However, Somesh Kumar’s contention was that as of June 1, 2014, Mohanty was still employed and as a result, his name ought to have been on the list for allocation. The first responder would have been assigned in accordance with his preference, the State of Telangana, had his name been included in the list of officers eligible for assignment, he argued. Agreeing with this assertion, the CAT highlighted that the AP government had allowed Mohanty to take voluntary retirement on June 1, 2014.


For the CS post, names of Special Chief Secretaries K Ramakrishna Rao (Finance), Rajat Kumar (Irrigation), Arvind Kumar (MAUD) and Santhi Kumari (Forest) are doing the rounds

Officers ill at ease

Several officers, including DGP Anjani Kumar, who are serving in TS on the orders of the CAT though they were allotted to the AP cadre, are worried over the latest order


In its orders, the CAT said that on June 1, 2014, Mohanty reported for work and issued a series of executive directives, therefore he was in service as on that date. It said that Mohanty’s name ought to have been on the list of officials to be distributed between the two successor States in accordance with the aforementioned rules. Even under subsection (4) of Section 76, Mohanty’s name ought to have been mentioned, it  said, ruling that it was unconstitutional and arbitrary for Mohanty to be left out of the list of officers used to allocate officers to the two successor states.

The ASG told the court that Somesh Kumar’s claim that Mohanty was an interested party because both his daughter and son-in-law were on the list was “absurd”. According to the ASG, “the division of officers occurred in tune with criteria defined by the committee and not in tune with the whims and fancies of any particular officer”.

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