In a major embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar Government, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Tuesday served a contempt notice to Bihar Chief Secretary for not complying with its Principal Bench order for granting an NOC to an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who had requested for a cadre change.
The CAT has sought the State’s response by May end failing which the Chief Secretary would have to face consequences, including imprisonment. “The order to respond within four weeks was from the Principal Bench after exoneration of the said officer from the highest seat of judiciary. If this time the CS (Anjani Kumar Singh) does not comply, he could land himself in jail. This case pertains to the highest order of dishonour by the executive of the judiciary where even Supreme Court is involved,” said CAT Advocate Sourabh Ahuja.
After a legal tussle, 2013 batch Bihar cadre IAS Dr Jitendra Gupta had obtained a relief from CAT, which directed the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to either allot a different cadre to Gupta or assign him a Central deputation. The CAT sought compliance of its order from State and DoPT within a month which ended on April 22, 2018.
CAT chairman Justice Permod Kohli and member KN Shrivastava in their order of March 22, 2018 had also questioned the role of Appointments Cabinet Committee (ACC), headed by Prime Minister, as it had not assigned any reason when Gupta had appealed the DoPT for change of cadre.
While the Chief Secretary did not adhere to the CAT orders, the lot of 2013 Batch IAS officers, except Gupta, was assigned their first postings as District Magistrate (DM). Ahuja said this tantamount to non-adherence of the Supreme Court directives and CAT orders in the same case. The 1981 batch IAS officer Anjani Kumar Singh was given an extension as CS due to his proximity with Nitish Kumar.
Gupta was implicated in false cases by the Vigilance Department of Bihar in July 2016, when as the sub-divisional officer (SDO) at Mohania in Kaimur district, he exposed an organsied racket involving entry of overloaded trucks and goods carriers without proper permits and papers into Bihar. He was arrested by a team of the vigilance investigation bureau on bribery charges on July 13, 2016. The IAS officers’ association of Bihar and Central IAS Association had strongly protested the unlawful action of Vigilance department.
In October 2016, the Patna High Court had struck off the criminal case against Gupta, after it was found to be fabricated and held that the process of law can’t be abused. The order of the High Court was upheld by the Supreme Court in February 2017 which directed the Central Government to look into his grievances and take appropriate action.
Sources in the Bihar administration confirmed that the CS office had received the CAT orders but the government was reluctant to respond. Gupta has personally written to the Chief Secretary after the CAT deadline expired requesting him to issue the No Objection Certificate (NOC) for cadre change or assign him a posting, added the sources.
In the letter to CS, Gupta is believed to have talked about the various mafias and other malpractices rampant within the Bihar Government and remarked that it is the failure of administration and police that has led to the sorry state of affairs in the state. He has mentioned that during a brief period of tenure he got attached to the people of State due to the love and affection he received even he was put in jail that has been constantly affecting his soul, mind and family till date.
Courtesy: The Pioneer