The Supreme Court today set aside a Calcutta High Court order that had stopped the transfer of a case pertaining to disciplinary proceedings against former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay from the state to Delhi. Now the hearing regarding the disciplinary proceeding against Bandyopadhyay will take place in the principal branch of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Delhi.
However, a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar granted the former West Bengal chief secretary the liberty to assail the tribunal’s order before the jurisdictional high court.
The apex court delivered its verdict on a plea filed by the union government challenging the 29 October 2021, order of the high court.
On 29 November, the union government had taken “serious exception” to certain observations made by the high court in its order passed on a plea filed by the former West Bengal chief secretary who had challenged the proceedings initiated against him.
Bandyopadhyay had been issued a show-cause notice for allegedly abstaining from a meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kalaikunda last May. The union government had then initiated major penalty proceedings against the former West Bengal chief secretary for alleged misconduct and misbehaviour.
On 31 May 2021, the last day of Bandyopadhyay’s tenure as the then West Bengal chief secretary, he was directed to go to Delhi and report at North Block by 10 AM. He, however, took retirement that very day instead of going to Delhi.
Bandyopadhyay, who was made an adviser to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee following his retirement, was then asked to reply to a “memorandum”, sent to him by the Department of Personnel and Training mentioning the charges, in 30 days.
Last November, the Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on the union government’s appeal against the order of the Calcutta High Court, which had stopped the transfer of the case from the Calcutta bench of the central administrative tribunal to its principal bench in Delhi.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the union government, had contended that the Calcutta High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition against the order passed by chairman of the tribunal in Delhi for transferring the case to the national capital.