Updated: September 11, 2021 9:08:54 am
THE DELHI High Court Friday upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)’s decision to quash an article of charge issued against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer Ajay Kumar Bassi for approaching the Supreme Court against his transfer to Port Blair without obtaining sanction of the government or informing it about the same.
Bassi, who is a DSP with the police, was the investigating officer in the case of corruption against former CBI special director and current Commissioner of Delhi Police Rakesh Asthana, and was transferred to Port Blair by interim CBI chief Nageswara Rao in 2018 soon after Centre had divested CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana of their powers amid a feud in the agency. Asthana in 2020 was given a clean chit in the case by CBI.
Dismissing the appeal moved by CBI against the CAT order, the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh that it was a case of transfer and Bassi went to Supreme Court to raise a grievance about it. “Everyday transfers are challenged and who goes to the authority first and why should he go? We are talking about misconduct which has to be in the light of the rules. Please show us what the rule is. If there is no rule, where is the misconduct” it said.
The court questioned invocation of Rule 19 (1) of Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 against Bassi and said the circumstances under which the rule would be attracted are not present in the case.
According to the rule, “No Government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the Government, have recourse to any Court or to the Press for the vindication of any official act which has been the subject-matter of adverse criticism or an attack of a defamatory character.”
“This is where he is subjected to this kind of adverse criticism and he wants to vindicate an official act of his. Please read and understand the rule at least. Supposing this person was to make an allegation against the person who has transferred him, then that officer would be entitled to this rule. How are you subjecting him (Bassi) to this? He has only challenged his transfer,” the court told the CBI counsel.
CBI had argued that Bassi conducted himself as an indisciplined member of a government department and the CAT had quashed the article of charge in a summary order.
CAT had upheld the article of charge alleging that he did not report for duty at CBI Branch of Port Blair even after lapse of available joining time but quashed the article of charge issued against him for approaching the apex court.
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