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Param Bir’s plea against PEs can be adjudicated by CAT: Bombay HC

The court was told by the state government that Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey has recused from the probes and therefore Singh's plea be rendered infructuous and non-maintainable.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 5, 2021 3:38:24 am
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh (File photo)

After the Maharashtra government on Tuesday opposed the writ plea filed by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh challenging two preliminary inquiries initiated against him, the Bombay High Court “prima facie” observed that there was no urgency to hear the petition and the reliefs claimed by Singh can be adjudicated by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

The court was told by the state government that Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey has recused from the probes and therefore Singh’s plea be rendered infructuous and non-maintainable.

The first order challenged by Singh is the April 1 state directive asking Pandey to initiate a preliminary probe against Singh under the All India Services (Conduct) Rules in connection with the Ambani security scare case.

The April 20 order directed Pandey to initiate an inquiry against Singh over the allegations made by Inspector Anup Dange — who was suspended last year and recently reinstated.

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A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale heard Singh’s plea on Tuesday.

Singh also sought directions to the CBI to probe the alleged “criminal conspiracy and malicious attempts to thwart” its preliminary inquiry as per the HC order of April 5. “The impugned orders are aimed at silencing petitioners and pressuring him to withdraw allegations against former home minister Anil Deshmukh,” the plea said.

Senior counsel Darius Khambata, representing the state government, opposed the plea and said that the complaints and allegations made by Singh were of “service nature” and remedy lay before the CAT, and therefore the court should not continue hearing the plea as non-maintainable. He also submitted that fresh preliminary enquiry (PE) has been ordered by the state government and therefore the present petition be rendered “infructuous”.

Senior counsel Navroz Seervai for Pandey adopted the arguments made by the state government and said that his client had recused from the probe without accepting allegations made by Singh against him.  Advocate S R Ganbavle representing complainant PI Dange also opposed the plea.

Advocate Sunny Punamiya, representing Singh, sought urgent hearing as senior advocates representing his client were not present on Tuesday.

After hearing submissions, the bench noted, “We are of the prima facie opinion that reliefs claimed can be adjudicated by the CAT. The subject matter of proposed preliminary enquiries is alleged violation of service rules and therefore we are of the opinion that this is a matter pertaining to service law jurisprudence, subject of course to submissions advanced by the petitioner. There is no urgency in view of submissions made by the state government and also because even show cause notice is not issued to petitioner.”

On the request made by Singh’s counsel, HC posted further hearing on Singh’s plea to June 9.

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