DEHRADUN: In an exemplary move, Ramon Magsaysay award winner Indian Forest Services officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi got a promotion.
Uttarakhand government on Monday late evening issued a list of promotion of IFS officers including Chaturvedi.
The promotion came despite various service matter disputes of the whistleblower officer with the then health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda in year 2015-16. This resulted in multiple litigations.
However, the secretary of union ministry of health and family welfare in his noting, in year 2014 has written that Chaturvedi's performance has been exemplary terming him an officer of 'absolute integrity' and added that he has been instrumental in exposing corruption.
Chaturvedi, was posted as chief vigilance officer of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi from year 2012-16.
A bench of central administrative tribunal (CAT) a body which decides service matters of class I officers, in year 2017 had directed that his 2015-16 APAR will not be considered in his promotion and career elevation.
"In the meantime, in the interest of justice, it is directed that if any matter related to the career progression of the applicant comes up for consideration before the respondents, the assessment for the period 2015-16 made in terms of impugned orders shall not be taken into account while assessing the applicants suitability or fitness and he shall be considered on the basis of the rest of his ACRs/APARs," said the CAT order dated September 20, 2017.
Whistleblower 2002 batch IFS Chaturvedi is currently posted as conservator of forests (research) in Haldwani.
Interestingly, the Uttarakhand government had rated Chaturvedi, who shifted to the state cadre in year 2016 as 'outstanding' in its appraisal of year 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Through our his career in AIIMS too, his performance was rated as 'Outstanding' except year 2015-16. Interestingly, he recieved the Magsaysay award in year 2015 only.
The promotion comes after multiple litigations in various courts and central administrative tribunal (CAT).
On June 19, 2017, Uttarakhand high court while hearing a petition of Chaturvedi regarding his Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) of financial year 2015-16 had directed him to approach the CAT.
On August 21, 2018 Uttarakhand HC had quashed the order passed by chairman of principal bench of central administrative tribunal (CAT), Delhi by which he had stayed the further proceedings in hearing of a case filed by the officer.
The court had termed the orders as "vindictive" and also noted that the very grounds on which the stay was granted by the chairman, were incorrect as all the three cases were totally different. The court had also imposed fine of Rs 25,000 on central government.
Later, the Supreme Court had doubled this fine on February 1, 2019 while upholding the HC's order dated August 21, 2018.
However, the cost imposed by the Uttarakhand HC was not paid to Chaturvedi. In June 2019, the HC issued contempt notices to union health secretary Preeti Sudan and Randeep Guleria, director AIIMS.
In response to this, the central government submitted affidavit before the HC Uttarakhand on August 5, 2019 tendering ‘unconditional and most sincere apology’ and explained that it was because of ‘wrong advice’ tendered by their Delhi counsel that they could not pay money to Chaturvedi.
In September 2019, Chaturvedi wrote to Prime Minister of India to create separate funds to help honest civil servants to assist them in bearing their legal expenses against 'vindictive litigations' for doing their duty.
With the letter, he attached a cheque of Rs 25,000 as his donation to Prime Minister National Relief Fund which he got on Uttarakhand high court's order.
He also questioned spending of public money on such 'vindictive' litigations and harassment.
The letter dated August 23, 2019 to the PM stated, "This gesture from the highest office of the land, will give them a sense of security, who otherwise are fighting a difficult battle at their respective work places, at great personal risk and costs."
The letter also quoted first union home minister and deputy PM Sardar Vallabh Patel about his view that there can be no united India if public servants are not allowed to speak their minds with independence.