Apex Court: Follow Prasar Bharti Act for day-to-day functioning
Tuesday - Aug 25, 2009
Kishore Sharma - Televisionpoint.com | New Delhi Amid a tussle for power between B S Lalli, chief executive officer (CEO), Prasar Bharati and Arun Bhatnagar, chairman, Prasar Bharati, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered that the day-to-day functioning of the public broadcaster be conducted in accordance with the Prasar Bharti Act, 1990.
Under the Prasar Bharti Act, the CEO has to implement the decisions taken by the Prasar Bharti board. The chairman presides over the meetings of the nine-member board, which also includes the CEO, member (Finance), member (Personnel), etc.
The direction came from a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on a petition filed by Lalli challenging the July 27 order of the Delhi High Court appointing a retired judge as an independent observer for board meetings.
The Supreme Court also allowed a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe into the alleged irregularities at Prasar Bharati Corporation, as ordered earlier by the Delhi High Court.
Justice (Retired) J P Singh was present in the last board meeting of Prasar Bharti. But the apex court stayed this part of the HC order, saying it was not proper to allow outsiders in board meetings.
Acting on a petition filed by the Centre of Public Interest Litigation, the HC had also ordered a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission into alleged financial irregularities in Prasar Bharati Corporation.
But Lalli said he did not have any problem with the probe. He also wanted the special audit ordered by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to continue.
Appearing for Lalli, senior counsel K K Venugopal and Soli J. Sorabjee alleged some resolutions were not properly passed by the board and majority of the members had not signed them. They said it should be cross-checked with the help of audio tapes of the meeting.
The Centre for PIL counsel Prashant Bhushan contested the submissions, saying six out of nine members had put their signature to the resolutions.
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