Minister for Health and Social Justice KK Shailaja was accused of misusing her power to appoint two members of her choice to the State Child Rights Commission.

 KK Shailaja denies nepotism charges Kerala govt to move court over quashed appointments
news Politics Monday, August 21, 2017 - 19:58

Minister for Health and Social Justice KK Shailaja said that the government will move court against the High Court order quashing the appointment of two members to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

 According to the Kerala High Court judgement, Shailaja misused her office and extended the final application date in order to fill in members of her choice to the Commission. 

The Minister, addressing the press at the Assembly complex on Monday evening said that extending the date for filing an application for the post was to pick more efficient candidates.

“There were no candidates from Kasargode and Pathanamthitta, and only one application from Wayanad. The idea behind extending the date was to get members from the northern districts of Kasargode and Wayanad in order to make the functioning of the Commission more effective," she said. 

“There were 103 applications in total, out of which 40 were shortlisted. Six members were chosen considering their performance in the interview. The court didn’t mention anything about the quality of the selection process. The court’s observation was that since no convincing reasons could be presented for extending the date for receiving applications, it should be assumed that it was not done in good faith,” the Minister said.

The Advocate General is considering the legal aspects to understand whether to file a review petition or appeal in the case, the minister said. “There was no nepotism. I didn’t have anyone in mind while extending the date. As per the law, persons who are accused of immoral activities should be not be appointed as members of the Commission. The member in question was not an accused in such a case, he doesn’t have any criminal background. Also, we got clearance from the Vigilance [Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau] before appointing the six members,” the Minister said.

The court quashed the appointment of TB Suresh Kumar (Wayanad) and Syamala Devi (Kasargode). Suresh Kumar is an active worker of the CPI (M). He had been convicted in a criminal case and has three pending cases against him. However, the opposition has been continuing their protest in the Assembly seeking the resignation of the Minister.

Opposition MLAs Roji M John, Eldhose Kunnappilly, VP Sajeendran and TV Ibrahim are fasting inside the Assembly premises. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that by appointing an accused in a criminal case, the minister had committed a big mistake. 

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