HC directs Bihar govt to release salary of IAS officer

Picture for representation

Picture for representation

The Delhi High Court has directed the Bihar government to release all the arrears of pay and allowances to an IAS officer, who has sought an inter-state transfer from Bihar to Haryana alleging threat to his life for acting tough against the transport mafia there.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jyoti Singh said the Bihar government shall continue to pay the salary to 2013-batch IAS officer Jitendra Gupta till the disposal of the writ petition, in which the state government has challenged a 2018 order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

The CAT had directed the Centre to consider the case of the officer for inter-state deputation to Haryana or for Central government deputation.

It had directed the Bihar government not to withhold its consent for the inter-state deputation or central deputation of the officer and communicate it to the Centre.

In its plea against the CAT order, the Bihar government has claimed that the tribunal failed to understand the mala fide intention of the officer for seeking cadre transfer, which was to avoid a criminal case in which he was acquitted but the matter was pending against his team members.

During one of the recent hearings on the Bihar government’s plea, Gupta’s counsel told the high court that he was not receiving any salary since July 2017 on the ground that he had not reported to duty in Bihar.

The counsel had referred to the order of the tribunal, which had directed that the officer’s request for inter-state transfer be considered by the Centre and that the Bihar government should not withhold its consent.

He had further pointed out that the tribunal’s order was not stayed by the high court.

The bench had said, “This being the position and considering the fact that the request for transfer was made on the ground of a serious threat to the life of respondent No.1 (Gupta), which has found favour with the tribunal, we are of the view that the salary and allowances of respondent No.1 should be released during the pendency of the writ petition.

“Accordingly, we direct the state of Bihar to release all the arrears of pay and allowances to respondent No.1 from the date the same have not been paid to him, and to continue to pay the same in future till the disposal of the writ petition. It shall be open to the petitioner (Bihar), without prejudice to its rights and contentions in the present petition, to avail of the services of respondent No.1 at any establishment of the said state in Delhi.”

Later, on February 8, the high court was informed by the Bihar government’s counsel that sanction orders were issued for the release of Gupta’s salary and other emoluments and assured that it would be disbursed within the next 10 days.

The court is scheduled to hear the matter again on Friday.

Appearing for Gupta, senior advocate Sachin Dutta submitted that the officer had filed a petition before the Supreme Court to claim damages on account of his false implication in a criminal case.

The apex court had, on February 1, granted him liberty to place his submission before the high court in this petition, he said.

The high court asked Gupta to file an additional affidavit in this regard and asked the Bihar government to give its response to it.

In his plea before the CAT, Gupta had alleged that the mafia, in connivance with officers of the state vigilance department, had implicated him in a false case, alleging that he had seized four trucks on July 3, 2016 and demanded a bribe for releasing the vehicles.

Gupta was arrested in the case and had to spend a month in jail.

After being released on bail, he had moved the Patna High Court against the FIR. The high court had quashed the FIR against Gupta on October 28, 2016.

The Supreme Court had also upheld the high court order and directed the Centre on May 9, 2017 to consider Gupta’s inter-state transfer, after noting the threat perception.

The state government, in a letter to the Centre, however, had said there was no probable threat to the officer’s life and he could continue in the state “fearlessly”.

The tribunal had lashed out at the Bihar government for not providing security to an IAS officer, who had repeatedly complained of threat to his life from the “transport mafia”.

It had said it was the duty of the Centre and the Bihar government to protect his life.

The tribunal’s order had come on a complaint filed by Gupta, seeking inter-state transfer from Bihar to Haryana, alleging threat to his life for acting tough against the “transport mafia” in Bihar.