New Delhi, Aug 19 :
The Supreme Court Tuesday declined to relax its order restraining IPS officer Archana Ramasundram from discharging her duties as additional director of the CBI, saying the government has yet to rebut impression that her appointment was flawed and illegal.
A bench of Chief Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said: “We are concerned that the appointment (of Ramasundaram) suffers from serious legal flaws.”
The court said this as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi urged the court to relax its order restraining Ramasundaram from discharging her official duties though she was being paid for it. He told the court that an important position like additional director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could not be kept vacant.
The court, however, said that it had passed its order when it was told that Ramasundaram had already joined her new posting and prima facie it appeared that procedure adopted by the central government was not legal.
The court asked the attorney general to address the question whether deputation created a legal right in favour of Ramasundaram to join new posting and can the central government act in the absence of a categorical position by the state government and how silence of Tamil Nadu government on her proposed posting be interpreted to mean concurrence or otherwise.
The court also asked him to show it that the government could “travel beyond the recommendation of the selection committee” that had not recommended the name of Ramasundaram for the post.
The court’s poser came in the course of the hearing of a PIL by a journalist and anti-corruption activist Vineet Narain contending that Ramasundaram’s appointment was in breach of statutory provisions and an apex court judgment.
The court remained unimpressed as Rohatgi told it that Tamil Nadu government had on October 15, 2013, had in a communication, told the central government that three officers were available for central deputation and after that no further concurrence was required to be taken from the state government for appointing Ramasundaram to the CBI post.
Taking the court through the sequence of events, Rohatgi told the court that for three months, the Tamil Nadu government did not respond to central government’s communication on Ramasundaram’s appointment and it was only on July 8, when she joined her new post that the state government swung into action, declared her deserter, placed her under suspension and initiated disciplinary proceedings.
At this, the court asked the attorney general to show it the rules under which the central government could ask an officer to join a position on deputation irrespective of the position of the state government.
It made it clear that the central government has yet to legally sustain its position over-ruling the recommendation of IPS officer R.K.Pachnanda by the selection committee and instead asking Ramasundaram to assume charge without the nod of the Tamil Nadu government.
The selection committee comprising the chief vigilance commissioner, three other members of the CVC, home secretary, personnel and training secretary and CBI director as a special invitee had recommended the name of Pachnanda but the government chose to ignore it.
The court adjourned the hearing till Oct 14, as Rohatgi said he has advised the government that if Ramasundaram has been empaneled for state police chief’s position, then let it be processed and then her posting to the CBI post would be withdrawn.
The court also cautioned that in the controversy between the central and Tamil Nadu governments, nothing adverse should fall on Ramasundaram.