Telangana chief secretary gets drubbing from CAT

TS asked to absorb IAS officer Mohanty within two weeks without fail

Hyderabad: The Central Administrative Tribunal(CAT)’s Hyderabad bench has directed the chief secretary of Telangana to induct IPS officer Abhishek Mohanty into the Telangana cadre within two weeks and file a compliance report before it by March 11.

The bench comprising Ashish Kalia and BV Sudhakar cautioned the CS that if he failed to implement the order, consequences would follow.

Before issuing the directions on Friday, chief secretary Somesh Kumar faced the wrath of the CAT bench, to the extent of issuing an ultimatum that he would be sent behind the bars over the way he ignored the summons issued on him in the contempt case -- for not implementing its previous orders to take back Abhishek Mohanty into the state service.

Notably, Mohanty had been allotted to residuary Andhra Pradesh in the distribution of All India Service officers under provisions of the AP Reorganization Act. But he wanted to serve in Telangana and approached CAT. The tribunal allowed his plea and directed the AP state to relieve him and asked Telangana state to absorb him and give him a suitable posting.

The order was ignored by the Telangana government, or the bureaucracy headed by the CS. It also did not pay his salary since the date of his joining in Telangana. After waiting for six months, Mohanty filed a contempt case before CAT against the chief secretary.

As a response was not forthcoming from TS, the CAT issued a summons to the chief secretary on February 15, asking him to appear before it on February 25 and explain why contempt proceedings shall not be initiated against him for not complying with its orders.

Kumar was to appear before the CAT on Friday, but he didn't. On behalf of him, advocate general BS Prasad sought time to file a counter.

Irritated over this defiance, the bench warned Kumar that he would face a non-bailable warrant. It gave an hour`s time for him to appear before it. Sensing the gravity of the evolving situation, the CS tip-toed before the bench through video conferencing. He said he was still in consultation with the Union Government on the matters raised by the bench, as the AIS cadre allotting authority vested with Centre.

The bench questioned Kumar whether it was that he too had waited for approval of the Union Government before joining the Telangana cadre from Andhra Pradesh, to which he too had been allotted.

The bench reminded him that he was serving in the Telangana state and must heed the orders of CAT.

Kumar explained that though he was allotted to Andhra Pradesh, he was serving in Telangana State at the time of distribution of the AIS officers and “hence it didn't become an issue” to him.

Mohanty’s counsel brought to the notice of the bench that IAS official Sri Lakshmi was relieved from the Telangana state within five days of the CAT allowing her to shift to Andhra Pradesh from Telangana.

The bench firmly told Kumar to comply with its order in absorbing Abhishek Mohanty within two weeks. It also said CAT can review that order about Kumar`s own shifting to Telangana and send him back to AP, if he acted contrary to its present directive again.

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