NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea by an IRS officer challenging a government order directing his compulsory retirement and said he can approach the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for relief.
A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud agreed with the submission of the Centre that the petitioner must seek recourse to the remedy before the CAT.
The apex court also noted the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that as many as sixty-four persons have been compulsorily retired and some of them have challenged similar orders of compulsory retirement and their substantive OAs (original applications) are pending before the CAT.
"In view of what is set out above, we are of the view that it would not be appropriate to entertain a petition under Article 32.
We accordingly dismiss the petition leaving it open to the petitioner to pursue the remedy available in law before the CAT," the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, said.
The top court noted that before instituting these proceedings, the petitioner Ashok Kumar Aggarwal had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court which dismissed his plea on the ground of maintainability since the petitioner had an efficacious alternative remedy available before the Central Administrative Tribunal.
The petitioner then filed an appeal in the top court against the high court order.
The Union of India filed a counter-affidavit raising a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition under Article 32 on the ground that the petitioner must seek recourse to the remedy available in law before the CAT.
The submission was opposed by senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Vikas Singh, appearing for petitioner, who urged that in view of the liberty granted by this Court on October 21, 2019, the writ petition under Article 32 is maintainable.
Rohatgi also submitted that the petitioner is due to retire within the space of about a year and a half and therefore a direction may be given for expeditious disposal of the petition.
The apex court then directed that if the petitioner pursues his remedy before the CAT, it will expedite the disposal of the case and endeavour to dispose it of preferably within a period of four months from the date of filing.
The government has compulsorily retired some senior Indian Revenue Service (income tax) officers, including one of the rank of the joint commissioner, last year following charges of corruption, extortion and professional misconduct against them.