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Breaking; Government Employees can File PIL since Right to Judicial Remedies is a Constitutional right; SC quashes Disciplinary proceedings against IAS Officer for filing Black Money PIL and orders to pay 5 Lakhs [Read Jt]

23 Sep 2014 3:54 AM GMT
Breaking; Government Employees can File PIL since Right to Judicial Remedies is a Constitutional right; SC quashes Disciplinary proceedings against IAS Officer for filing Black Money PIL  and orders to pay 5 Lakhs [Read Jt]
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In a landmark Judgment a Two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice J.Chelameswar and Justice A.K.Sikri held that right to judicial remedies for the redressal  of  either  personal or public grievances  is  a  constitutional  right  of  the  subjects  (both citizens and non-citizens) of this country and employees of the State  cannot become members of a different and inferior class to whom such right  is  not available.

The Supreme Court was considering an appeal filed by an IAS officer Mr.Vijay Shankar Pandey against Disciplinary Proceedings taken against him by the Government for filing a PIL which ultimately resulted in the formation of SIT in the Black money Case [Ram Jethmalani & Others v. Union of India & Others,  (2011)  8  SCC 1].

The allegation against Mr.Pandey is as follows;

"A Writ  Petition  (C) No.37 of 2010 titled  "Julio  F.  Ribero  and  others  vs.  Govt.  of  India including Mr.Pandey, came to be filed under the  name  and  style of India  Rejuvination  Initiative,  a  non-Government  Organisation  (NGO).

The said Writ Petition along with another culminated in a judgment  of  Supreme Court in Ram Jethmalani & Others v. Union of India & Others,  (2011)  8  SCC 1. All the charges against Mr.Pndey are in connection with  the  filing of the said Writ Petition on the ground that the conduct is violative of the various CONDUCT Rules.  Charge No.1  is  on  account  of certain statements made in the said Writ  Petition  against  certain  senior officers of the  Government  of  India.   The  second  charge  is  that  he failed to comply with the requirement of Rule 13  of  the  CONDUCT Rules where-under he is obliged to give information to the respondent  within one month of becoming a member of the such organization  (NGO).   The  third and the fourth charges  are  based  on  the  allegation  made  in  the  Writ Petition (Civil) No.37 of 2010.  The substance of the charges was that  those allegations tantamount to criticism of the action of the Central as well  as State Governments and of giving evidence without the  previous  sanction  of the  government  and,  therefore,  contravention  of  Rules  7[1]  and  8[2] respectively of the CONDUCT  Rules.   Charge  No.5  was  that  he violated Rule 17[3] of the CONDUCT Rules".

Allowing the Appeal Justice Chelameswar held that "We are at a loss to comprehend how the filing  of  the  writ  petition containing allegations that the Government of India is  lax  in  discharging its constitutional obligations of establishing the rule of law can  be  said to amount to either failure to maintain absolute integrity and  devotion  to duty or of indulging in conduct unbecoming of a member of the service". Even  otherwise,  the  IMPUGNED  order,  in  our  opinion  is  wholly untenable. The purpose behind the proceedings appears calculated  to  harass the  appellant  since  he  dared  to  point  out  certain  aspects  of  mal-administration in the Government of India. The action of the respondents  is consistent with their conduct clearly recorded in  (2011) 8 SCC  1[6].   The whole attempt appears to be to suppress  any  probe  into  the  question  of blackmoney  by  whatever  means  fair  or  foul.    The   present   impugned proceedings are nothing but a part of the strategy to  intimidate  not  onlythe appellant but also to send a signal to others who might dare  in  future to expose any  mal-administration.    The  fact  remains,  that  this  Court eventually agreed with the  substance  of  the  complaint  pleaded  in  Writ Petition No.37 of 2010 and connected matters; and  directed  an  independent inquiry into the issue of black money".

Inline IAS"The  Constitution  declares  that  India  is  a  sovereign  democratic Republic.  The requirement of such democratic republic is that every  action of the State is to be informed with reason.   State is not  a  hierarchy  of regressively genuflecting coterie of bureaucracy".

The Bench also ordered to pay Rs.5 Lakhs as costs to Mr.Pandey and observed that it is open to the Government to identify those who are  responsible  for  the  initiation  of such unwholesome action against the appellant and recover  the  amounts,  if the respondents can and have the political will.

Read the Judgment here

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