The Delhi High Court made a significant decision on Monday regarding the transfer of disciplinary proceedings against Bihar cadre IPS officers, notably Amit Lodha (IPS:1998:BH). The court has set aside the transfer of the case from the Patna bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to New Delhi.
A division bench comprising Justice V Kameswar Rao and Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta granted the pleas of the Bihar Government, effectively overturning the order issued by the Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi in March. This order had transferred an original application filed by Amit Lodha, which was previously pending before the Patna bench, to the Principal Bench in New Delhi. Additionally, the bench quashed the Chairman’s order that retained another original application filed by the IPS officer before the Principal Bench.
The Delhi High Court’s ruling stated, “We set aside the orders dated March 2, 2023, and March 27, 2023, passed by the Chairman in PT Nos. 06/2023 and 27/2023, respectively. The same are revived on the Board of the Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal, who shall consider the Transfer Petitions afresh by hearing the counsel for the parties and pass a reasoned and speaking order in accordance with the law.”
The case originated from a decision made on July 12 of the previous year to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the senior police officer in Bihar, citing allegations of corruption, gross irregularities, and arbitrariness, among other charges.
Amit Lodha, known for his prominence following the release of the web series ‘Khakee,’ which was based on his book ‘Bihar Diaries,’ contested the proceedings before the Patna bench of the CAT. Subsequently, he filed a transfer petition to move the case to the Principal Bench in New Delhi. He also filed another case before the Principal Bench challenging separate disciplinary proceedings against him, which was retained by the Chairman.
Amit Lodha argued that the actions taken by the Bihar authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him were ill-motivated and intended to hinder his promotion to the position of Additional Director General of Police. He believed that hearing the case outside the state would serve the interests of justice.
The Delhi High Court emphasized that one of the fundamental principles of natural justice is the requirement to pass a reasoned or speaking order. The Chairman of the CAT is expected to record and specify the reasons for the decision to transfer a matter, especially when the parties involved have taken opposing positions.
The court directed that no proceedings should take place in the matter pending before the Principal Bench until the Chairman issues a fresh decision on the issue. The next hearing for the Transfer Petitions has been scheduled before the Chairman of the Tribunal on November 3, 2023.