Courts Update Delhi High Court dismisses CBI plea challenging CAT order...

Delhi High Court dismisses CBI plea challenging CAT order quashing charges against CBI officer

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New Delhi Sept 14(ILNS): The Delhi High Court, recently, dismissed the plea moved by the Central Bureau of Investigation challenging order passed by the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal inasmuch by the said order an article of charge framed against CBI Officer Ajay Kumar Bassi, for moving an application before the Apex Court against his transfer from New Delhi to Port Blair without obtaining prior sanction of the Government, was quashed by the CAT.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh refused to interfere with the order passed by the Tribunal while observing that Article of Charges and Statement of the imputation of misconduct framed against Mr. Bassi does not disclose as to how the act of availing a legal remedy could be treated as a ‘misconduct’.

The Bench posted a query to Advocate Ripudaman Bhardwaj, representing CBI, as to which service rule has been breached by Mr. Bassi in approaching the Top Court. Upon this, Mr. Bhardwaj contended that the conduct of Mr. Bassi was in breach of Rule 19 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, wherein it is contemplated that a Government servant shall not have recourse to any Court for the vindication of any official act which has been the subject matter of adverse criticism or an attack of a defamatory character, except with the previous sanction of the Government.

The Bench noted that the circumstances in which the aforementioned Rule would be attracted are not present in the instant case and thereby, no rule has been breached by Mr. Bassi in approaching the Apex Court challenging his transfer.

The Bench held thus: “In the present case, it is not even alleged that the respondent (Mr. Bassi) had approached the Supreme Court for his vindication on account of adverse criticism, or an attack of a defamatory character qua an official act. As aforesaid, he approached the Supreme Court to challenge his transfer by the respondent. No other Rule has been brought to our notice, whereunder the act of the respondent in approaching the Court to seek relief against his transfer was barred without obtaining any prior sanction of the Government.”

CBI alleged Mr. Bassi had conducted himself as an ‘undisciplined’ member of a Government department and that the article of charge was quashed by the Tribunal by a summary order without any discussion. 

Background

Mr. Bassi was the investigating officer in the corruption charge against former CBI Special Director and present Police Commissioner of Delhi Rakesh Asthana and was transferred to Port Blair from New Delhi by the interim CBI chief M. Nageswara Rao. He challenged the order before the Apex Court contending that he has been targeted for undertaking an impartial investigation against Mr. Asthana and others./ILNS/KR/SNG

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