Delhi HC Reserves Judgment in Alapan Bandhyopadhyay Plea challenging CAT Order

Alapan Bandhyopadhyay Delhi High Court Law Insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 25, 2022 at 17:03 IST

On February 25, 2022, the Delhi High Court reserved its Judgment in the Plea filed by former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay, challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Order, which transferred his Petition from Kolkata Bench to the Principal Bench at New Delhi.

The Division Bench comprised Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. Advocate Kartikey Bhatt represented Petitioner – Bandyopadhyay, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta represented Respondent – Union of India.

The Bench granted liberty to both sides for filing written submissions in the matter by February 26, 2022.

It was stated that the Impugned Order was violative of Principles of Natural Justice, equity, and fair play as he was not granted the right to file written objections to the Transfer Petition.

Bhatt argued that the matter was transferred on the first day without an effective hearing which was in violation of Section 25 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.

Bhatt stated that the Impugned Order was violative of Rule 6(2) of the CAT Rules, 1987 which provides that a person who has ceased to be in service may file an Application with Registrar of the Bench within whose Jurisdiction such person resides at the time of filing Application.

It was contended that Bandyopadhyay was a retired official and was entitled to exercise rights before CAT Kolkata Bench. It was argued that alleged cause of action arose in West Bengal and there was no reason to transfer the Case.

It was also contended that the Centre had no Jurisdiction to institute Disciplinary Proceedings as Bandhyopadhyay served in the West Bengal cadre and Charge-sheet was filed by incompetent authority.

The Solicitor General with respect to Section 25 of the Act stated, “Please see the width of powers, notice is not even relevant. These are wide powers, akin to master of roster power.”

He stated that power of transfer is an administrative power and added, “Reasons given by Chairman will not be re-appreciated as if it’s an Appealable Order.” Also, the question of Jurisdiction would be matter of argument before CAT.

Disciplinary Proceedings were initiated against Bandhyopadhyay as he failed to attend review meeting chaired by the Prime Minister with respect to damage caused by Cyclone Yaas.

The Calcutta High court allowed him to file Writ Petition exercising its Jurisdiction under Article 226(2). It set aside the CAT Principal Bench Order.

However, the Supreme Court declared the High Court Order Void ab Initio and set it aside.

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