Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Seeks Prime Minister’s Intervention on Binayak Sen’s Nomination as Member of Planning Commission’s Steering Committee on Health
BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Increasing pressure on the central government, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review the decision to nominate civil rights activist Dr Binayak Sen as a member of the steering committee on health of the Planning Commission.
In a letter to the prime minister, who is also chairman of the Planning Commission, the chief minister has said: “It is an accepted principle that any person convicted for life imprisonment cannot be nominated as a member of any national level forum or committee and there have been no precedents of this kind.”
Reiterating that he has decided not to attend any meeting of the Planning Commission till the matter is resolved, the chief minister has said that having been convicted by a trial court, Sen continues to remain a convict for sedition and also under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 as well as under Chhattisgarh Special Public Protection Act 2005.
“It is imperative to note that while Dr Sen’s appeal is pending in the High Court, his conviction has not been set aside,” says the letter.
Pointing out that the Planning Commission is the highest policy-making body of the country, the letter says: “Needless to say, institutional integrity of the Planning Commission is of paramount importance,” adding that Dr Sen’s nomination was shocking and against all norms of propriety.
Reminding the prime minister that he had declared on many occasions that the Left wing extremism was the biggest threat to internal security and democracy, the chief minister says the decision to include Dr Sen in the committee would confuse people at this critical juncture when the country is fighting a major battle against the Left Wing extremism.
“It appears strange that no other name in the entire country could be found for nomination in the Planning Commission’s steering committee on health. Moreover, the so-called contribution of Dr Sen to health sector has been hugely exaggerated and there was little on ground to support it,” says the letter.
Dr Sen was convicted by a trial court in Raipur on December 24 last year for sedition and other charges and sentenced to life imprisonment. While the state High Court rejected his bail plea, the Supreme Court granted him bail “suspending the sentence” pending his appeal in the High Court.