The Uttarakhand High Court has set aside the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) principal bench order of transferring the case of Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi from the Nainital bench to the Delhi bench of CAT.
The High Court while dismissing the order of the principal bench transferring the petition called the impugned order ”legally unsustainable”.
The bench comprising Chief justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Narayan Singh Dhanik said, “The impact of the policy decision deprives the petitioner’s right in the State of Uttarakhand. Therefore, a part of the cause of action arises in the State. Hence, the Nainital Circuit Bench does have the jurisdiction to hear the original application.”
IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi had challenged the irregularities in the lateral entry of private experts at the Joint Secretary Level and a 360-degree appraisal policy of the central government.
“He had challenged the recruitment selection process for the post of Joint Secretary. He was also aggrieved by the fact that, although eligible candidates were available for the post of Joint Secretary, within the All India Services, in 2019, a policy decision was taken by the Central Government that henceforth the post of Joint Secretary would be filled by hiring persons on contractual basis for a period of three to five years, reads the High Court judgment.
The Centre argued that since the matter is related to the policy which will have “nationwide repercussions” the case should be transferred to the Principal bench of CAT in New Delhi.
“A very peculiar contention was raised by the Union of India for seeking transfer of the original application from the Nainital Circuit Bench to the Principal Bench, New Delhi: since the petitioner has challenged a policy decision, and since the policy decision has “nationwide repercussions”, therefore, the original application deserves to be transferred to the Principal Bench, New Delhi,” read the HC judgment.
Mr Chaturvedi is currently posted as Chief Conservator of Forest (Working Plan), Haldwani, District Nainital, Uttarakhand. He had filed a case before the Nainital Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), in February 2020, on this issue. However, in December 2020, on the basis of an application filed by the Centre, the Chairman of CAT, ordered to transfer the hearing of this case to the Delhi bench of CAT.
This transfer order was challenged by Mr Chaturvedi in December 2020 before the Uttarakhand High Court.
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