In a huge embarrassment, the Uttarakhand High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre’s Narendra Modi government for misleading the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal in New Delhi into staying proceedings. This was after the whistleblower IFS officer, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, approached the Nainital bench seeking quashing of his poor appraisal.
The high court also slammed the CAT chairman for passing a “strange order” on a plea made by the central government seeking transfer of a case, involving whistleblower IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi, to Delhi from the tribunal’s Nainital bench.
While quashing the CAT’s July 27 order in the matter, the court imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Central government. It also termed as “vindictive” the attitude of the central government, reported PTI.
“The attitude of the respondents towards petitioner, prima facie, is vindictive,” news agency PTI quoted the 21 August order by the division bench of the court, consisting of acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari.
The order of the high court came on a petition moved by Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who is at present posted as Conservator of Forests (Research) at Haldwani. Chaturvedi was forced to move court after the proceedings in his application for quashing of poor ACR before a division bench of Nainital CAT was stayed by the CAT Chairman, while sitting singly on an application moved by the Centre while Chaturvedi was away to Finland for mandatory foreign training, reported Livelaw website.
The bench of CAT had been hearing the case filed by Chaturvedi since July 2017 in the matter pertaining to adverse entries made into his appraisal report of 2015-16 by AIIMS, New Delhi, where he was working as Chief Vigilance Officer from 2012 to 2016.
“It is very a strange order. How the chairman while sitting singly could stay the proceedings pending before the division bench of Central Administrative Tribunal, circuit bench at Nainital,” the court order said.
It said the chairman of the tribunal is first amongst equals.
“He exercises the same judicial powers, which are being exercised by the other members. We are of the considered view that the chairman of the tribunal while sitting singly could not stay the proceedings of the matter pending…,” the court said.
Chaturvedi, who has earlier served as the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS during 2012-14, has been at loggerheads with the Modi government after he unearthed several instances of corrupt practices during his stint as as the CVO of AIIMS. He was relieved from his duty as soon as he exposed corruption at the preimier medical institute in India’s national capital.
Although he continued to retain the Deputy Director post at AIIMS, Chaturvedi had alleged that his removal from the CVO post was a result of campaign by corrupt officials. Allegations surfaced of BJP leader JP Nadda acting against Chaturvedi on behalf of Vineet Chaudhary, an IAS officer from his own state, Himachal Pradesh.
During his stint as AIIMS CVO, Chaturvedi initiated actions in around 200 corruption cases; punishment was imposed in 78 cases, chargesheet was issued in 87 cases and more than 20 cases were referred to CBI for criminal investigation.
In an exclusive interview last year, Chaturvedi had launched a tirade against the prime minister saying that he made personal phone calls to victimise him adding that Modi was too small in his thinking.
In 2015, in an exclusive interview with Janta Ka Reporter, the Magsaysay Award winner had said that the Modi government was against anti-corruption forces.