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Breaking: Supreme Court Stays Dismissal Of IPS Officer Satish Chandra Verma Who Assisted CBI in Ishrat Jahan Case Probe

Rintu Mariam Biju
19 Sep 2022 9:54 AM GMT
Breaking: Supreme Court Stays Dismissal Of IPS Officer Satish Chandra Verma Who Assisted CBI in Ishrat Jahan Case Probe
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The Supreme Court has kept in abeyance for a week, the order of Central government dismissing from service Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma, who assisted the CBI in the investigation in the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case. A bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy directed that in the meantime, it is for Verma to take appropriate steps for amending the...

The Supreme Court has kept in abeyance for a week, the order of Central government dismissing from service Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma, who assisted the CBI in the investigation in the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing case.

A bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy directed that in the meantime, it is for Verma to take appropriate steps for amending the writ petition pending before the Delhi High Court, to lodge a challenge to order of dismissal.

"It is for the High Court to consider the question as to whether order of stay of implementation of order passed by disciplinary authority is to be continued beyond a period of one week," it added.

The Home Ministry dismissed Verma on August 30, a month before he was to retire on September 30. One of the grounds for dismissal includes "talking to the media which dented the country's international relations". The disciplinary proceedings were initiated in 2016 after Verma spoke to the media denying the allegations of torture in the Ishrat Jahan case probe.

The dismissal order was passed while the Delhi High Court was hearing his challenge against the disciplinary proceedings. In 2021, the High Court had allowed the disciplinary proceedings to continue but asked the Union to not take any precipitative action. Later, an application was made by the Union Government seeking modification of the interim protection by stating that the enquiry is over and the competent authority was to pass a final order.

On August 30, the High Court modified the interim protection and the authority was permitted to pass the final order. However, the High Court asked the Union to not implement the order till the next date of hearing if the same is prejudicial to Verma. On the same day the High Court modified the interim protection, the dismissal order was passed. On September 7, the High Court granted leave to the Union to implement the dismissal order but asked it to defer its implementation till September 19 so as to enable the Verma to pursue legal remedies.

Verma has filed two Special Leave Petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the orders of the High Court on August 30 and September 7 to the extent it allowed the implementation of the dismissal order. He contended that the High Court passed the order even though there was no proof of service of the Union's application on him.

Before the Top Court, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued that Verma is due to retire on September 30 and whereas the High Court had been passing orders on his plea from time to time, it has now posted the case for January, 2023.

"My petition is getting infructuous. I can't argue here also....Either you transfer the High Court petition and hear it or HC to prepone the hearing... Otherwise I'll argue on merits," Sibal submitted.

He added that there was no hurry to pass the order of dismissal since under the Service Rules, disciplinary proceedings having been instituted during Verma's service, could have been culminated even after his retirement

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for Centre argued that there's no challenge to the order of dismissal before the High Court.

"It's not as if there is a challenge to order of Disciplinary Authority in WP as what is in challenge is challenge to charges," the SG said.

Sibal however contended that even in the writ petition, laying a challenge to article of charges and without amending the writ petition or seeking to lay a challenge to order of dismissal, Verma is entitled to relief.

Courtroom Exchange

At the outset, the Bench asked Sibal if they have obtained leave of the high court before approaching the Supreme Court.

Sibal informed that Verma is due to retire on September 30 and whereas the High Court had been passing orders on his plea from time to time, it has now posted the case for January, 2023.

"My petition is getting infructuous. I can't argue here also....Either you transfer the High Court petition and hear it or HC to prepone the hearing... Otherwise I'll argue on merits," Sibal submitted.

He added that the Centre is stalling the case since past one year and it has not even filed its counter affidavit in the matter. "Result was that petition could not be heard. I must have my say at some stage."

The bench then asked Sibal if it is his case that their challenge to the charges will survive the dismissal order also.

"Can you avoid charges? For whatever reason it may be, it has been passed. You filed SLP, but is order already passed," the Bench said.

Sibal responded that despite the aforesaid, Verma must be given an opportunity of being heard. "I may not succeed. But if I do, it will go. I have 35 years of service."

The bench then told Sibal that there are other avenues for challenging dismissal orders. "How can he go before HC without exhausting remedy before Tribunal?"

It continued,

"Challenge to charge memo is pending. Meanwhile, dismissal order got the approval of the High Court. Either he can challenge dismissal order or you can hold back dismissal order on orders of court - subject to High Court proceedings, dismissal orders can still be passed."

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