KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday upheld the State Government’s decision to suspend Information Commissioner K Natarajan, who is alleged to have interfered in a land allotment case involving Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan.
The Bench, comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Sheffique, passed the order while dismissing an appeal filed by Natarajan, challenging a Single-Judge order. Justice P R Ramachandra Menon had earlier upheld the decision, and had observed that the contention of Natarajan that the State Information Commissioner could be suspended only after commencing an inquiry under Section-17 (2) was not correct.
The Additional Director General of Prosecution (Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau) had submitted a ‘quick verification report’ on the allegation that the petitioner had attempted to influence Dy SP of Police who was investigating a Vigilance case against a former Chief Minister Kerala.
After obtaining the report, the Kerala Government recommended that the Petitioner be suspended, and Natarajan was suspended on November 9, 2012.
In his appeal, the petitioner contended that the Governor had merely passed the order suspending him on a recommendation by the Kerala Government, without applying mind and without forming an opinion on any definite material.
Senior Government Pleader Roshen D Alexander submitted that the Governor acted well within his powers in suspending Natarajan.
The Bench observed that the Governor had applied his mind on the materials placed before him. “It cannot be said that the governor had not applied his mind in the case. The order passed by the Governor was a reasonable one, after due application of mind. It cannot be said that the order was mindlessly passed, after reading the recommendations of the State Government,” the court observed. It did not find that the order of the Governor was to be interfered with, and none of the submissions of the petitioner had any substance. “The Single-Judge did not commit any error in denying the petition,” the Bench said.