Calcutta HC : Relief for former Chief Secy as Calcutta HC sets aside CAT order

Insight Online News

Kolkata, Oct 29 : The Calcutta High Court on Friday set aside the order of the CAT’s principal bench in New Delhi transferring to itself the matter of former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyaya, and directed the tribunal’s Kolkata Bench to decide the case on an expeditious basis.

Expressing strong reservation in the manner in which the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) favoured the Central government to transfer the case, the High Court, in a sharply critical order, said that it was “overzealous” in catering to the fiat of the government.

A division bench of Justices Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya and Rabindranath Samanta observed: “The entire modus operandi adopted by the Union of India reeks of mala fides. It is unfortunate that the principal bench of the CAT nurtured such efforts by passing the impugned transfer order, thereby paying obeisance to the diktat of the Union of India, which has been repeatedly held by the Supreme Court and various High Courts, not to be a favoured litigant.

“Rather, the responsibility of meting out justice and serving the cause of justice is on a much higher pedestal for the Union of India than an ordinary individual litigant.”

The court also held that “the order of the principal bench not only violates the legal right conferred on the writ petitioner under Rule 6 of the CAT Rules, 1987, read with Sections 35 and 36 of the 1985 Act, as well as the petitioner’s fundamental right of equality before the law, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, which is the ground norm of the Indian legal fabric”.

The order comes after Bandyopadhyay moved the High Court challenging the order of the CAT’s principal bench dated October 22, allowing Centre’s transfer petition in the case filed by him before the Kolkata bench of CAT.

Bandypadhayay, who is presently the Chief Advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee moved the CAT against the Centre’s decision to initiate a probe against him. The former Chief Secretary decided to move the CAT after the centre had set up an inquiry committee to find out whether Bandyopadhyay had violated norms by “not attending a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” at Kalaikunda on May 28.

The controversy cropped up on May 28 this year when Bandyopadhyay skipped the meeting of the Prime Minister who had come to Kalaikunda in East Midnapore to assess the destruction caused by Cyclone Yaas. Bandyopadhyay, who was then the Chief Secretary, had reached the Prime Minister’s meeting with Chief Minister Banerjee and then left along with her to visit Digha to attend a review meeting after the cyclone had hit three coastal districts.

Bandyopadhyay who was supposed to retire on May 31 was given an extension of one year by the Centre on the recommendations of the state government but after the incident, was asked to report to Delhi on Central deputation. Bandyopadhyay refused to go there and took his superannuation.


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