The Centre has finally paid Rs 25,000 as compensation to IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi in compliance with the Uttarakhand High Court order issued in August 2018, after contempt notices were issued by the court in June this year.
Chaturvedi had filed a case before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in a matter pertaining to adverse entries made in his appraisal report of 2015-16 by AIIMS, New Delhi, where he worked as chief vigilance officer from 2012 to 2016. The CAT started hearing the case from July 2017.
The CAT chairman at its principal bench in Delhi had stayed the proceedings filed by Chaturvedi, pending before a division bench of the CAT in Nainital. When Chaturvedi filed an application before the Nainital bench challenging the appraisal report, an interim order was passed in his favour after which the Centre approached the principal bench of the CAT to transfer the matter from Nainital to Delhi.
The CAT chairman stayed the proceedings pending before the two-member bench at Nainital for a period of six weeks and issued a notice to Chaturvedi. The Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer challenged the order of CAT Chairman before Uttarakhand High Court last year. The court quashed the CAT chairman's order, terming it "without jurisdiction" while observing that the attitude of the Centre and AIIMS as "vindictive" against the officer.
In the same order Uttarakhand High Court imposed a cost of RS 25,000 on the Centre and AIIMS. This order of the Uttarakhand High Court was challenged by the Centre and AIIMS before the Supreme Court which in February 2019 not only upheld the High Court’s order but imposed a further cost of Rs 20,000 to be deposited into the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.
The cost imposed by the Uttarakhand High Court was not paid to Chaturvedi. In June 2019, the Uttarakhand High Court issued contempt notices to Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria.
In response, the Centre submitted an affidavit before the Uttarakhand High Court on August 5, tendering 'unconditional and most sincere apology" and explained that it was because of "wrong advice" of their Delhi counsel that they could not pay the amount to Chaturvedi.
A bank draft of Rs 25,000 was issued in the name of the officer. In a similar case in 2011, the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana had also paid a compensation of Rs 10,000 to Chaturvedi on the orders of the State Information Commission for harassment.