Courts Update IRS officer forced retirement: Supreme Court directs Delhi High...

IRS officer forced retirement: Supreme Court directs Delhi High Court CJ to dispose of case expeditiously

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New Delhi Sept 6(ILNS): The Supreme Court today directed the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to expeditiously start hearing in the case related to the forced compulsory retirement of an IRS officer of the 1985 batch, who was compulsorily retired in 2019, in accordance with Fundamental Rule 56 (j).

The three-Judge Bench, presided by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and A.S. Bopanna, passed the order on a petition filed by IRS officer Ashok Kumar Aggarwal.

Senior Advocate, Vikas Singh, for retired IRS officer argued before the court that Ashok Kumar Aggarwal is about to retire within one year. This is a very extraordinary matter and is pending before two benches of the High Court of Delhi and the Petitioner has won all litigations so far.

Sr Adv Vikas Singh- “I have only 1 and 4 months remaining. I cannot reap the fruit of SC judgment. I am beseeching my lord, no malafide was found against me. There are two vacancies coming up, one should be kept for me. I am beseeching that SC should hear the matter. It is about my career, My junior is getting Promotion and I am being denied promotion due.”

SG Tushar Mehta, for the Union of India, prayed before the Bench to fix the matter for tomorrow. 

SG Tushar Mehta submitted – “As a Govt officer I am not saying anything but this should not be allowed.”

CJI- “we have already said that the matter is before the CJ bench of Delhi HC, it is for the Chief Justice to decide. We have no objection for early hearing of this matter.”

Singh- “Bench of Indira Banerjee has heard this matter as part-heard.”

CJI- “No we are not going to hear it. If you are not interested to listen to us. Then leave it.”

CJI- “Admittedly the matter is listed for hearing on October 1, 2021, we request the Chief Justice to hear the matter himself or assign bench to hear. “

SG- “There are five vakalatnama, Petitioner has put on record.”

CJI- “It is for the Chief Justice to take up himself or nominate. Both parties agree to argue the matter within a week’s time.”

SG- “you (Mr. Singh) bringing the bad name to this institution.”

Singh- “So are you, as you are disobeying the orders of this court.”

Prior to this, the 3 Judges Bench of Justice D.Y.Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee vide order dated October 5, 2020, on the writ petition filed under Article 32 gave the option to him to pursue remedy before CAT and shall direct CAT to dispose of the same within 4 months from date of filing a petition before CAT.  

It was also observed by the bench then retired IRS officer filed Writ under Art 226 and on the grounds of maintainability, the High court of Delhi preferred to dismiss the said writ Petition and asked the Petitioner to approach CAT. 

A substantial issue was raised by Ashok Kumar before CAT as to whether the order of compulsory retirement passed against him is legal and valid.

CAT while dismissing retire IRS officer Petition on merits, had observed in para 40 of its judgment that

“The hardship caused to the civil servants on account of dismissal from service after an inquiry under Rule 14 of the CCS (CCA) Rules or by invoking the provisions akin to Article 311 (2), is phenomenal, if not colossal. The pension, which is almost in the form of estate, stands withdrawn. Other attendant benefits, which are provided as a reward for the service rendered by the employee for a major part of his life are forfeited. In contrast, the compulsory retirement under FR 56(j) would have the effect of just advancing the age of retirement and nothing more.” 

Major punishments such as dismissal and removal are almost lethal weapons, whereas compulsory retirement is just a tranquilizer.”

Background 

Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, an IRS officer of the 1985 batch. In 1996, the Petitioner was appointed as Deputy Director of Enforcement (Delhi Zone). At that time, he looked over cases akin to infractions of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and proceeded against various influential persons. He had severe pressure from higher authorities of E.D. in relation to the aforesaid case.  He was kept on compulsory wait and transferred from the post of Deputy Director. The CBI, in turn, is said to have registered a case against unknown officers of ED, with an intention to implicate the applicant, for the steps taken by him against some notorious economic offenders.

Ashok Kumar remained in suspension from December 28, 1999. The charge sheet was filed on June 28, 2020, thereafter a case of disproportionate assets of about Rs.12 crores, was registered against the applicant, on November 26, 2020. The suspension order was set aside by CAT, and in meantime, another separate order of suspension order was issued against Ashok Kumar. 

CBI harassed the family of the applicant and when the same was brought to the notice of the Hon’ble High Court, directions were issued, and as a result of which, FIRs were registered against two officers of the CBI./ILNS/KY/KR/SNG

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