Indian forest service officer Chaturvedi gets CAT relief in cadre change

New Delhi: Indian forest service officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi, who has been fighting a battle for cadre change from Haryana, has got a shot in the arm from the CAT which said he has faced “extreme hardship” at the hands of the state government even as the Centre promised reconsideration of the case of his transfer.

Indian forest service officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi
Indian forest service officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has rendered “infructuos” an order of Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for returning the proposal of changing cadre of Chaturvedi, who was also removed as the Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS.

In a recent order, a bench headed by CAT Chairman Syed Rafat Alam said that the instances mentioned by the IFS officer prima facie bear out “extreme hardship” at the hands of authorities of Haryana government which had also been substantiated by the report of the two-member committee appointed by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

“We are of the opinion that the impugned order dated January 28, 2015 (of ACC) is rendered infructuous ipso facto as the matter is to be reconsidered by respondents as submitted by counsel for the respondents (Union of India, MoEF and Department of Personnel & Training).

“Hence, we only direct at this juncture that the case of the applicant (Chaturvedi) may be considered expeditiously, preferably within a period of two months from the date of production of certified copy of this order,” the tribunal said.

Noting that the government was prepared to reconsider Chaturvedi’s case, the tribunal said, “We are of the opinion that though the instance stated by the applicant (Chaturvedi) ‘prima facie’ bear out extreme hardship and have also been substantiated by the report of the two members committee appointed by MoEF, we refrain from going into the merits of the case, as counsel for respondents has not argued on merits of the case.”

In his complaint filed before the tribunal, Chaturvedi had challenged a January 28, 2015 decision, returning his proposal for inter cadre transfer from Haryana to Uttrakhand.

Chaturvedi had claimed that he had to face extreme hardship and vindictive attitude at the hands of bureaucrats and political executive of the State on account of his adherence to rules and to take action against irregularities and illegalities within his jurisdiction.

Due to this reason, he submitted his request for transfer of cadre from Haryana to the State of Uttrakhand, he had told the tribunal.

In his complaint before tribunal, Chaturvedi had sought a direction to the Centre for inter cadre transfer and to ask the government to quash the ACC order.

In their reply, the government submitted that they were prepared to reconsider Chaturvedi’s case and sought time for disposal of his application, adding that they were prepared to consider the points raised by him afresh.

The tribunal also went on to warn about the consequences of a corrupt system and said “We do hope and trust that a situation may never arise, where honesty is punished and corruption rewarded. Such a system cannot be expected to last for a long time.”

The case was disposed of after the tribunal noted that that reconsideration of the issue was within the government’s mind.

“We hope and trust that respondents have taken note of the points raised by the applicant during the course of arguments regarding extreme hardship and relentless persecution merely because of carrying out the duties assigned to him under law,” it said.

Chaturvedi had joined the Haryana cadre in August, 2005, and in June, 2012 he was posted as Deputy Secretary in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi under central deputation.

Inputs with PTI