August 16, 2013 12:07:42 pm
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a PIL seeking reinstatement of suspended IAS officer Durga Sakhti Nagpal,who had cracked down on illegal sand mining in Uttar Pradesh. Questioning the locus of a lawyer,who filed a PIL,a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu dismissed the plea and said that it may entertain the petition if she (Nagpal) herself approaches the court. The bench further said that the officer can take care of herself and can also approach the other authorities including a court,against her suspension order.
“The moment she approaches the court,we will hear her plea and we may pass an interim order,” the bench said. The court dismissed the petition filed by advocate M L Sharma,who had sought quashing of all the proceedings against Nagpal for allegedly demolishing of wall of a mosque. The petitioner had submitted that Nagpal is suffering hardship for following Supreme Court’s order on preventing unauthorised construction of religious buildings on public land and the apex court should protect her. Contending that the action taken against Nagpal was arbitrary,unconstitutional and malafide,the PIL had sought quashing of all proceedings against the 2010 batch IAS officer who had clamped down on the mining mafia in Gautam Budh Nagar area of UP.
The PIL had said suspending Nagpal was “unconstitutional,arbitrary and lowered the constitutional system” and “the absence of support from top bureaucracy,in both Uttar Pradesh and in New Delhi,is shameful”. The 28-year-old Sub-Divisional Magistrate was suspended on July 27 ostensibly for ordering the demolition of the wall of an under-construction mosque in a village in Noida without following the due process.
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The petition had sought judicial review of the suspension order and said,”Nagpal’s victimisation is a new low in a long process of the subversion of bureaucracy”.The UP government had on August 4 served a charge sheet on the officer,asking her to submit an explanation for her conduct.
Supreme Court seeks explanation
The Supreme Court today sought an explanation from Uttar Pradesh government for arresting a Dalit scholar for allegedly writing a post on Facebook in support of suspended IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal. A bench headed by Justice H L Gokhale,issued notice to the state government asking them to file their response for arresting writer Kanwal Bharti,in violation of its order.
Bharti,author of various books dealing with problems faced by Dalits,in his post had said that the Gautam Budh Nagar SDM was suspended for alleged demolition of wall of a mosque. However,Bharti was granted bail in the matter. The apex court had earlier on May 16 said that the person allegedly posting objectionable comments on social networking sites cannot be arrested by the police without getting prior permission from senior officers.
The court had directed the state government to strictly comply with the Centre’s advisory which had said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from police officials of the rank of IGP or DCP or SP level. In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook,Centre had on January 9 issued advisory to all states and UTs asking them not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior police officer.
The apex court had restrained police while hearing an application seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting allegedly objectionable comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The section states that any person who sends,by means of a computer resource or communication device,any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years,besides imposition of appropriate fine.
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