Four top scientists, including former Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chief G Madhavan Nair, should be allowed to present their versions against the decision to debar them from occupying any government position in future following their alleged role in the Antrix-Devas deal, the law ministry has advised the space department.
In its confidential note, based on the attorney general's opinion, the ministry has said the action against the four scientists "has civil consequences and impacts their reputation, and therefore principles of natural justice should be followed".The law ministry has pointed out that the government would have to strictly follow the principle that justice is not only done but is also seen to be done.
"It would be appropriate to grant these scientists a post-decisional opportunity to make a written representation
against the order," the ministry noted.
The government's legal arm in its response to a reference from the department of space has also advised against any fresh inquiry and serving of a chargesheet on the scientists.
Commenting on the department's January 13 order which, apart from Nair, also barred A Bhaskarnarayana, KR Sridharamurthi and KN Shankara from "any re-employment, committee roles or any other important government role", the law ministry stated that the exact nature of charges should have been communicated to the scientists.
"Divestment from current assignments and disqualification from future assignments have definite consequences and basic principles of natural justice would be attracted," it stated.
Referring to Nair's protest letter to the PM, in which he termed the action against him and others as "unfair", the ministry has stated that "such objections would automatically be addressed once they are given an opportunity".