New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI) An IAS officer, who took on transport mafia in Bihar, will have to continue his legal battle for inter-cadre transfer as the Supreme Court on Monday withdrew its February order which had taken note of an assurance that the needful would be done by the DoPT within three weeks.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan withdrew the February 3 order passed by the apex court, which had disposed of a plea filed by 2013-batch IAS officer Jitendra Gupta while recording the assurance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the needful for posting him in Haryana cadre would be done within three weeks.
Later, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) filed an application in the top court seeking recall of the February 3 order.
During the hearing on the application for recall of the order on Monday, Mehta told the bench that earlier statement was made “without obtaining instructions from the concerned authority” and he be permitted to withdraw it.
“Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General submits that the statement was made without obtaining instructions from the concerned authority. He submits that he be permitted to withdraw the said statement and the matter be re-heard,” the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, noted in its order.
The bench further noted that the February 3 order was passed on the first day when the special leave petition filed by the IAS officer was taken up for hearing by the court and notice was issued on that day itself.
“We are of the view that the sufficient ground has been made out to withdraw the statement made by the applicant,” the bench said.
“We order accordingly and order dated February 3, 2020 is withdrawn to the following extent: ‘...that the needful of posting the petitioner in Haryana cadre will be done within three weeks from today. The statement is placed on record. In view of the above, the special leave petition is disposed of. Pending interlocutory application(s), if any, is/are disposed of’,” the bench noted.
The apex court, which listed the plea filed by Gupta for hearing on September 15, directed that counter affidavit be filed by the DoPT within a week.
The February 3 order was passed by the top court on an appeal filed by the IAS officer who had challenged the Delhi High Court’s order of December 24 last year.
The high court had rejected Gupta’s plea in which he had sought initiation of contempt action against the authority concerned for allegedly not complying with the directions given by a division bench of the high court in its judgement passed earlier in his case.
The division bench had in July last year directed the Centre to initiate the process of inter-cadre transfer of Gupta forthwith and issue an order transferring him to a cadre outside the Bihar cadre.
It had said that “willingness/consent” of Gupta be also sought for inter-cadre transfer as per law and the entire process be completed within four weeks.
“We must, therefore, come to the aid of an officer, who showed courage in the discharge of his duty, and must protect his life and liberty.
'If we fail in our duty to protect a man, who has had the nerve to stand up against a mafia and the State machinery, we would be doing great disservice to the system and setting a bad precedent, where no officer would gather the courage to stand up against the wrongdoers,” the high court had said.
Before the high court, Gupta had sought transfer to Haryana alleging threat to his life for acting tough against the transport mafia in Bihar.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had earlier directed the Centre to consider the case of the officer for inter-state deputation to Haryana or for central government deputation.
Thereafter, Bihar government had challenged the CAT order before the high court.
In 2016, Gupta was arrested in a corruption case and was sent to jail. He was later granted bail and the FIR was quashed following Patna High Court's order. PTI ABA MNL SJK SA