Centre seeks transfer of IFS officer's case to Delhi Bench of CAT
Dehradun (PTI) The Centre has sought the transfer of the hearing of a petition challenging the present system of empanelment and lateral entry at the level of joint secretary in the Union government from the Allahabad bench to the Delhi bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal.
According to documents available with PTI, the Centre moved an application before CAT Chairman Justice L Narasimhan Reddy on October 13 seeking the transfer of the hearing.
The petition was filed by Haldwani-based Chief Conservator of Forests Sanjiv Chaturvedi earlier this year.
The plea challenges the present system of empanelment, “360-degree appraisals” and lateral entry to the joint secretary level at the Centre.
The “360-degree appraisals” implies assessment by peers, subordinates and seniors.
According to the petition, a joint parliamentary committee had also found the system lacking transparency in 2017.
The move by the Centre has surprised legal experts who say individuals do seek transfer of a case from one bench of a tribunal to another as per their convenience but governments do not usually do so.
A recipient of the Magsaysay Award, Chaturvedi has the reputation of being a whistle-blower who uncovered graft rackets at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, during his tenure as its Chief Vigilance Officer from 2012 to 2014.
“A government approaching the tribunal for the transfer of a case is very rare. According to the Constitution, India is a Union of States and it should not matter to the government whether a case is being heard in Delhi or Allahabad,” said the ex-secretary general of the Uttarakhand High Court Bar Association, Nainital Sandeep Tiwari.
“The move seems all the more meaningless given the fact that virtual hearings are being conducted due to the coronavirus pandemic and locations have become immaterial,” he said.
On September 3, the Allahabad bench of CAT had issued a notice to the UPSC and Union government, giving them 10 days to file objections to the maintainability of Chaturvedi’s petition and fixed September 22 as the next date of hearing into the case.
However, they could not file their objections and the tribunal’s Allahabad bench set October 15 as the next date of hearing in the case. Meanwhile, the Centre moved the application before the CAT Chairman seeking the transfer of the case to Delhi.
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