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Whistleblower gets stay from tribunal against decision on cadre change

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, whom Arvind Kejriwal wants as his officer on special duty, is serving as a deputy secretary at the AIIMS on a central deputation

Nitin Sethi  |  New Delhi 

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the whistle-blower forest officer, has secured a stay from the Central Administrative Tribunal against the Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s decision to deny him a clear decision on the change of cadre from Haryana to Uttarakhand. On Wednesday, the tribunal stayed the action of the prime minister-headed Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) and issued a notice in this regard to the Cabinet secretary, the environment secretary and the establishment officer of the Department of Personnel and Training.

Currently, Chaturvedi is deputy secretary at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), on a central deputation. He had been brought to Delhi under the United Progressive Alliance government and made chief vigilance officer at AIIMS. At the same time, citing threat to his life, as well as harassment, he had sought a permanent cadre change from his cadre state of Haryana to Uttarakhand. Unearthing of several scams in the forestry sector while serving in the state had led to Chaturvedi being hounded by the then Congress government in Haryana, with the President intervening in his favour through special orders on repeated occasions. Services rules allow a change of cadre on grounds of ‘extreme hardship’. The two states concerned had given the mandatory approval for the Centre to permit the change of Chaturvedi’s service cadre.

At the Centre, the final call on such matters lies with the ACC. While the transfer request was pending with the central government, Chaturvedi was removed from the post of chief vigilance officer at AIIMS, on a request by Bharatiya Janata Party leader J P Nadda.

TRIBUNAL GRANTS BREATHER
  • Whistle-blower Sanjiv Chaturvedi, whom Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought to make his officer on special duty, has won a breather from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
  • CAT on Wednesday stayed the action of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which had asked the governments of Haryana and Uttarakhand to re-approve his change of cadre from the former to the latter
  • Chaturvedi had sought a permanent change of cadre, citing a threat to his life

In January, the cadre transfer request reached the highest echelons of the government. The ACC, instead of approving or rejecting it, said the governments of Haryana and Uttarakhand be again asked to approve this. This, for practical purposes, would leave the case hanging.

Chaturvedi challenged this decision of the NDA government before the Central Administrative Tribunal. He said the government’s decision not to pass an explicit order in the case was “mala fide, arbitrariness and play of ulterior motives and extraneous considerations”. He claimed earlier, too, the government had “unnecessarily” delayed taking a decision on the matter by using “superfluous” excuses. He pleaded the NDA government must pass an explicit speaking order in his case.

The tribunal on Wednesday gave the Union government a week to file short replies on the interim relief. It added the government should “not take any precipitating steps in the matter”.

Chaturvedi’s case also has political import, as new Delhi chief minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal has sought that for the remaining part of Chaturvedi’s central deputation, he be allowed to work as the Delhi CM’s officer on special duty. AAP had campaigned against the BJP government when Chaturvedi was suddenly removed from the vigilance officer’s post at AIIMS while conducting investigations into charges of corruption against senior officials.

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First Published: Thu, February 19 2015. 00:38 IST
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