After being issued notice for contempt by the Uttarakhand High Court for non-compliance, the Centre has finally paid the cost of Rs 25, 000 to whistleblower IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi while blaming its Advocate on Record for the delay.
Another 25, 000 have been paid towards the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, as ordered by the Supreme Court while dismissing the Centre's appeal against the high court order.
In an affidavit filed in the High Court, the Centre said that a draft of Rs 25,000 has been made in the name of Chaturvedi on July 30.
The Uttarakhand High Court had in June issued a notice to Preeti Sudan, Union Health Secretary and to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria to show as to why they be not punished for contempt of court for their failure in paying the cost of Rs 25,000 to Chaturvedi for misleading CAT Principal Bench in his service matter.
Following the contempt notice, the Centre paid the cost.
In an affidavit filed earlier this month by the Administrative Officer of AIIMS, the high court was informed that, "the order of the apex court had already been complied with by the respondents and due to wrong advice respondents could not deposit the amount of the cost as directed by this Hon'ble court within time".
It also shared a copy of the mail dated February 13, 2019 showing the advice given by the counsel causing the delay.
The annexure shows that the advocate had suggested that since the orders of the high court has been assailed by AIIMS before the Supreme Court which had admitted the petition and thus as per doctrine of merger, the high court order merges with the apex court judgment and only the directions contained in the apex court judgment remain executable and therefore, only Rs 25,000 needs to be deposited with the SC legal service committee.
AIIMS said it then approached Assistant Solicitor General of State and was advised to comply with the orders of the court.
It is to be noted that way back in 2011 also, Chaturvedi was paid Rs 10,000 compensation by the Haryana government for harassment as he tried to crack the whip against construction activities in a wildlife sanctuary.
A President's order had then noted that he was harassed and charge-sheeted by the state for upholding the law.
Almost a year ago, in August, 2018, the Uttarakhand High Court had imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for misleading the Prinicpal Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal at New Delhi into staying proceedings in a service matter instituted by Chaturvedi before the Nainital bench wherein he had sought quashing of his poor appraisal report for year 2015-16 when he had served as CVO, AIIMS on central deputation and highlighted several cases of corruption in country's premier medical institute.
The proceedings in his application for quashing of poor ACR before a division bench of Nainital CAT was stayed by the Chairman, CAT while sitting singly on an application moved by the Centre while Chaturvedi was away to Finland for mandatory foreign training.
Holding that CAT chairman could not have stayed the proceedings pending before a Division circuit bench, the high court had imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 of Centre and AIIMS for misrepresenting facts.
AIIMS challenged this High Court order before the Supreme Court. Upholding the High Court order, the Supreme Court observed that the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal, sitting singly, cannot stay proceedings pending before a larger Bench. It observed that, the Chairman acting judicially is equal to any other Member and is 'one amongst equals'. While dismissing its appeal, the apex court yet again imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on AIIMS.
On June 24, Chaturvedi once again moved court saying the Respondents (Centre and AIIMS) have failed to comply with its orders as they have till date not paid the costs to him.