No relief to Telangana CS; appearance before CAT must

The CAT summoned the Chief Secretary to appear before it in person

HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Wednesday did not provide any relief to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar from appearing before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Friday in a contempt case filed by junior IPS officer Abhishek Mohanty.

The CAT summoned the Chief Secretary to appear before it in person and explain why its order shifting Mohanty’s cadre from Andhra Pradesh to Telangana was not implemented. Turning down the state’s plea to stay the CAT contempt notice, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili said, “Justice should be uniform to all officers benefited by the CAT orders and got their choice state to work in.”

The above observations were made when the bench was briefed by Govind Reddy, the counsel representing AP, about the discrimination shown in implementing the CAT orders. He informed the bench that as many as 13 AIS officers including the Chief Secretary himself had been working in Telangana with the help of a CAT order. But in the case of Abhishek Mohanty, the government did not absorb him despite the CAT order, he pointed out.

Abhishek’s counsel who urged the bench to tag the case filed against his client by the ministry of home affairs challenging the CAT order, said it was a clear case of discrimination and humiliation of a young IPS officer who had still 31 years of service and whose morale would be lowered.

Meanwhile, advocate general of Telangana B.S Prasad requested the bench to give relief in the contempt proceedings initiated by the CAT against Somesh Kumar, where he had to appear before the CAT on 25 February. He requested to issue direction to the CAT not to press for the appearance of the Chief Secretary. Without filing any application, the government requested for relief. But the bench was not inclined to issue any interim orders or entertain the request of the advocate general. It, however, agreed to tag Mohanty’s case with other pending cases.

In another related development, a division bench comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice A. Venkateshwara Reddy directed Somesh Kumar and other officers to file counter affidavits/replies within four weeks in a case filed against them by the department of personnel and training. These officers were originally allotted to AP cadre but have been working in Telangana based on a CAT order which was challenged by the DoPT way back in 2017 but came up for hearing for the first time on Wednesday.

In this case also, Santosh Kumar, the special counsel appearing for Telangana, urged the bench to suspend the CAT order seeking Somesh’s appearance in a contempt case. Justice Bhuyan made it amply clear that the contempt case was before the CAT and the High Court could not touch it.

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