A bench of Justices B.D. Ahmed and S. Mridul directed the counsel for the petitioner, the Society for Voice of Human Rights and Justice, to seek proper instructions and posted the matter for hearing on November 18.
"A minister can even appoint a paanwala as his secretary. This is not a post which is advertised. He may even opt for no secretary at all. Where is the right for consideration?
"There is no public injury in the case and hence this cannot be considered a PIL. It is a service matter. Prima facie it is covered under the CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal) Act. It has to be heard by the tribunal," the bench said.
On June 19, the Narendra Modi government had issued a circular that "any officer/official/private person" who worked as personal staff of a UPA minister in any capacity for any duration may not be appointed in the personal staff of ministers in the present government.
Later, the DoPT clarified that the circular was applicable to officers on special duty (OSD) and private secretaries, not junior office staffers.
The NGO's counsel today argued: "There is a specific exclusion provided in the notification. This is an attempt to politicise the bureaucracy."
The high court, however, said anybody who is aggrieved should file a petition.
"You are looking at the circular from a very narrow point of view. There should be some person who is aggrieved. Let him (bureaucrat) come. Why are you shying away from approaching the CAT?" it said.