CAT orders reinstatement of RAW lady officer | delhi | Hindustan Times
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CAT orders reinstatement of RAW lady officer

The Central Administrative Tribunal has directed reinstatement of a senior RAW officer who was compulsorily retired last year after her identity became public when she attempted suicide outside the PMO accusing a senior male colleague of harassment.

delhi Updated: Mar 18, 2010 19:52 IST

The Central Administrative Tribunal has directed reinstatement of a senior RAW officer who was compulsorily retired last year after her identity became public when she attempted suicide outside the PMO accusing a senior male colleague of harassment.

Setting aside Government's decision, a Bench headed by Justice M Ramachandran said, "So long as we are expected to
uphold constitutional rights of an individual, we cannot be silent witness to at least such unpalatable happening brought
to our notice."

The tribunal held that the decision was taken arbitrarily and directed the Centre to reinstate her with all
consequential benefits.

The Bench rejected Government's plea that the lady officer Nisha Priya Bhatia could not be allowed to serve
the Research and Analysis Wing, the external intelligence agency of the country, as she became a threat to security of
the nation after her identity was exposed.

It passed the order on a petition filed by Bhatia challenging the government decision to force her to
take compulsory retirement.

The media had widely covered the incident and her photograph and visuals were displayed in news channels.

Bhatia had alleged that prostitution rackets were being run from her office premises and the secret service
funds were being misused, a charge flatly denied by RAW.

The agency contended that the association of a person with RAW was a closely guarded secret and once it came to be
made public, the officer has no more place in the organisation.

The Bench held that Bhatia has been treated with a "large doze of arbitrariness and her statutory as well as
constitutional rights stand violated".

It noted that the Prime Minister "obviously might have been acting on the basis of the reports presented before him.
But it could have been one-sided, and reports have been prepared by persons who are not friendly with the applicant".

The Bench said it found Bhatia was conducting herself very well in the Court, and "normally would have been an asset to the organisation".

"We, of course, feel that the alleged escapades of her superiors should not have bothered her unduly as she was well capable of looking after herself, as is evident, ignoring any such overtures with disdain," it said.

In this information age nothing could be gained by keeping the officers in their "shells" as such details about
its personnel could be easily found out and "anonymity of personnel of RAW is more a myth than reality", it said.

"There can be nothing gained, by asking the officers of RAW to keep to their shells. If espionage is a must, it
needs to be carried out on the advice of the best brains. It could almost be reassured that the bio data of RAW personnel
lock, stock and barrel already would be with persons who need them. The Government like an ostrich is not expected to bury
its head in sand and be complacent," the tribunal said.

"There is no casual connection with the mere exposure of identity of an officer and the security of the State as
such," it said adding that the espionage body needs to update their attitude with the changing times.

"It may be difficult to accept now a proposition that rigid secrecy should be there shrouded in all the matters and
transactions pertaining to the special service."

The bench also suggested that there should be transparency in the functioning of the organisation.

The right to life, and all fundamental rights requires to be zealously guarded and such rights of a citizen should
not be permitted to be crushed by the onslaught of the State machinery," the tribunal said.